Wednesday, July 23, 2008

St. John of the Cross

This painting by Salvador Dali is called Christ of St. John of the Cross, so named because it was inspired by a drawing of Christ by him. The original painting has the cross suspended over earthly scenery (a lake with boat) and the imagery is a powerful reflection of Christ's presence on Earth.

I have a small but growing fascination with St. John of the Cross. His mystical writings (those I've read, which are not many) stir up in me a longing for a deeper presence of Christ in my soul, not unlike the ache of unrequited love.

I am tentatively stepping into prayerful consideration of pursuing formation in a lay Carmelite order based in a local monastery. (St. John of the Cross, along with St. Teresa of Avila, was a reformer of the Carmelite order.) If my journey leads me there, I imagine formation would begin in September of 2009, after my youngest son graduates high school. I cannot imagine pursuing something such as this until after his senior year, which I expect will be a whirlwind!

For now I leave you with some words of his, far better than continuing with those of my own.

"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you." -- St. John of the Cross

Living Flame of Love
St. John of the Cross
1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.


Merisi said...

What one does not find within oneself, is impossible to find elsewhere. How true!

Your jellyfish pictures are incredibly beautiful.

Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

Anne said...

If you join, I will share the drive with you, if you would like, and contemplate joining also. I am also drawn to carmelite spirituality. By the time you are ready, my life might be calmer and I might be ready, too.

Esther said...

Hi Merisi - Yes, there is much wisdom in that quote! Thanks for visiting.

Esther said...

Anne, I am not surprised that you are drawn to Carmelite spirituality. It would be lovely to share that journey with you!