3. It is
fitting, as we celebrate the fourth centenary of his death, that
we should once again sit at the feet of this Master. By a happy
coincidence, he is our traveling companion for this crossroads
of history at which we stand. We are at the threshold of the
year 2000. Twenty-five years separate us from the closing of the
Second Vatican Council which began and sustained the renewal of
the Church in her purity of doctrine and sanctity of life. As
the Council affirms, "It is the function of the Church to render
God the Father and his incarnate Son present and as it were
visible, while ceaselessly renewing and purifying herself under
the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is brought about chiefly
by the witness of a living and mature faith, namely, one that is
so well formed that it can see difficulties clearly and overcome
presence of God and of Christ, a renewing purification under the
guidance of the Spirit, and the living of an informed and adult
faith-is this not in reality the heart of the teaching of St.
John of the Cross and his message for the Church and for men and
women of today? Unless we renew our faith and brighten its
flame, we will not be able to face any of the great tasks which
face the Church. Only faith enables us to experience the
salvific presence of God in Christ in the very centre of life
and of history. Faith alone reveals to us the meaning of the
human condition and our supreme dignity as sons and daughters of
God who are called to communion with Him (4). Faith is the
heartbeat of the new evangelization, for it re-evangelizes
believers and opens them more and more to the teachings and
light of Christ.
John of the Cross is known in the Church and in the world of
culture for many things. He is a man of letters and a poet of
the Castilian language. He is an artist and humanist. He is a
man of deep mystical experiences. He is a theologian and
spiritual exegete. He is a spiritual master and director of
consciences. As a master or guide on the journey of faith, he
brings light, through his example and doctrine, to all those who
seek to experience God through contemplation and through
self-sacrificing service to their brothers and sisters. In his
elevated poetical production and doctrinal tracts- The Ascent of
Mt. Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle, and The
Living Flame of Love-as well as in his brief and pithy
writings-The Sayings of Light and Love, The Counsels, and his
letters-the Saint has left us a great synthesis of spirituality
and of Christian mystical life. Yet from among this rich fare
set forth by him, I wish to fix our attention on his central
message: living faith which is the guide of the Christian, his
only light in the dark nights of trial, an ardent flame fed by
the Saint so well shows by his life, inspires adoration and
praise. It anchors every human person in a real world permeated
with the presence of surpassing realities. Therefore I wish,
with the light of "the Holy Spirit who is the Teacher" (5) and
in harmony with the sapiential style of Friar John of the Cross,
to comment upon some aspects of his doctrine touching on faith.
I want to share his message with the men and women who are
living today at this hopeful and challenging hour of history.
5. It fell
to Friar John of the Cross to live in historical circumstances
that offered him rich possibilities which spurred the full
development of his faith. During his lifetime (1542-1591), an
intense and creative religious age begins in Spain, Europe, and
America. It is the age of the evangelical expansion of the
Catholic Reform. It is also a time of accord, of ruptures in the
unity of the Church, and of internal and external conflicts. The
critical juncture urges a response. The Church holds a great
Council to teach and reform, the Council of Trent. She
evangelizes a new continent, America. She invigorates the
Christian roots of an old world, Europe.
situations and events mark out the context in which the life of
John of the Cross unfolds. He spends his childhood and youth in
extreme poverty and has to make his way by working with his
hands in Fontiveros, Arevalo and Medina del Campo. He follows a
Carmelite calling and receives a higher education in the halls
of the University of Salamanca. Immediately alter a providential
meeting with Saint Teresa of Jesus, he embraces the Reform of
Carmel and begins a new form of life in the first convento of
Duruelo. The first male Discalced Carmelite, he shares the ups
and downs and difficulties of his religious family as it comes
to birth. Imprisonment in Toledo, the solitude of El Calvario
and La Penuela in Andalusia, his apostolate in the monasteries
of nuns, and his work as Superior weather him. His mature
personality emerges in a lyric outpouring of poetry, in his
written commentaries, in his simple conventual life, and in his
itinerant apostolate. Alcala de Henares, Segovia and Ubeda are
names which evoke the fullness of his interior life, of his
priestly ministry, and his spiritual magisterium.
experience enables him to face the state of the Church of his
time with an open attitude. He is aware of what is taking place.
In his writings he alludes to heresies and errors. At the end of
his life he offers to go to Mexico to preach the Gospel. He is
preparing to carry out his purpose when sickness and death cut
6. John de
Yepes' response to the grave spiritual needs of his time is to
embrace a contemplative vocation. He is not washing his hands of
his human and Christian responsibilities. On the contrary, in
taking this step he is committing himself to living with full
awareness the very heart of the faith by seeking the face of
God, by listening to His word and putting it into practice, and
by surrendering himself to the service of his neighbor.
us that the Christian can find complete fulfilment in the
contemplative life. The contemplative does not limit himself to
spending long stretches in prayer. The companions of the
Carmelite Saint and his biographers give us a dynamic picture of
him. As a youth, John learned to nurse the sick and to lay
bricks and stones and to work in the orchard and adorn the
church. As an adult, he discharges responsibilities in
government and formation, attentive always to the spiritual and
material needs of his brethren. He goes on long journeys by foot
in order spiritually to assist his sisters, the Discalced
Carmelite Nuns, for he is convinced of the value of their
contemplative life for the Church. His attitude may be summed up
by a basic conviction: It is God and God alone that gives value
and meaning to every activity, "For where God is unknown,
nothing is known" (6).
special vocation as a contemplative Carmelite enabled him to
serve the Church and her needs in the best way through his life
and writings. And so Friar John lived in the company of his
brothers and sisters in Carmel in prayer and silence, in service
and sober simplicity and renunciation which were steeped in
faith, hope and love. With St. Teresa of Jesus, he realized and
shared the fullness of the Carmelite charism. Together they
continue to be in the Church eminent witnesses of the living
of forming believers
promotes communion and dialogue with the brethren in order to
help them to travel the paths that lead to God. Friar John was
an authentic former of believers. He knew how to introduce
people to familiar conversation with God by teaching them to
discover His presence and His love in all circumstances, whether
favorable or unfavorable, in moments of fervour and in periods
of apparent abandonment alike. illustrious souls such as Teresa
of Jesus drew near to him. He guided her through the last stages
of her mystical ascent. There were also persons of great
spirituality, representatives of the faith and popular piety,
like Ana de Penalosa, to whom he dedicated the Living Flame of
Love. God fitted him for this mission as spiritual guide and
moulder of believers.
the Cross had to invent for his time a doctrinal system and
practical approach to teaching faith in order to liberate it
from perils that would waylay the faithful. There was the peril
of excessive credulity on the part of those who lacked
discernment and trusted more in private visions and subjective
movements than in the Gospel and the Church. On the other hand
there was the radical unbelief and hardness of heart which made
it impossible for others to open themselves to mystery. The
Mystical Doctor avoids these pitfalls and, through his example
and doctrine, helps Christians to make their faith strong with
the very basic qualities of an adult faith which the Second
Vatican Council asks of us. It is to be a personal faith which
has matured through the experience of communion with God. It is
to be a faith that leads to solidarity and commitment which is
manifested in moral integrity of life and a readiness to serve.
This is the faith that we need and which the Saint of Fontiveros
offers us through his personal witness and his perennially
witness of the Living God
realism of his personal faith
8. John of
the Cross is a man in love with God. He treated familiarly with
Him and spoke constantly of Him. He carried God in his heart and
on his lips. God was his true treasure, his most real world.
Even before opening his mouth to proclaim or sing the divine
mystery, he is God's witness. That is why he speaks of Him so
passionately and so uncommonly convincingly. "They pondered that
which they heard, that he thus spoke of the things of God and of
the mysteries of our faith, as if he had seen them with his
bodily eyes" (7). The gift of faith brings alive for the
believer what he knows in mystery. It comes to form his real
world. The witness proclaims what he has seen and heard, what he
has contemplated, after the fashion of the prophets and apostles
(cf. I Jn. 1:1-2).
prophets and apostles, the Saint possesses the gift of the
efficacious and penetrating word. He not only has the power of
voicing and sharing his experience through symbols and poems
which are shot through with lyric beauty, but he also expresses
himself exquisitely in his sapiential "Sayings of Light and
Love." He is wont to speak "words to the heart (which are)
bathed in sweetness and love," words "of light for the journey
and of love for the journeying"(8).
the fullness of revelation
keenness and the realism of the faith of the Mystical Doctor
rest upon his awareness of the central mysteries of
Christianity. A contemporary of the Saint affirms: "Among the
mysteries for which it seems to me he had great love was that of
the Most Holy Trinity and also that of the Son of God made man"
(9). His preferred source for the contemplation of these
mysteries was the Scripture. He often said so. In particular, he
turned to chapter 17 of St. John's Gospel. He made his life an
echo of its words: "This is eternal life: that they should know
You, the one true God, and Him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ"
theologian and mystic, he made the entire spiritual life revolve
around the mysteries of the Trinity and of the Incarnate Word.
He sang of them in his poetry. Because he seeks God through
faith and welcomes Him from the depths of his being, he finds
God in the works of creation and in the events of history: "The
Word, the Son of God, together with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, is hidden by His essence and presence in the innermost
being of the soul.... Be joyful and gladdened in your interior
recollection with Him, because you have Him so close to you.
Desire Him there. Adore Him there" (10).
dynamics of the theological life
does the Spanish mystic succeed in finding such riches and so
much life in Christian faith? By simply letting evangelical
faith unfold all its capacity for conversion, love, trust and
selflessness. John's faith is so rich and efficacious because it
is the source of all theological life: faith, hope and charity.
He says: "These three theological virtues increase together"
One of the
most valid contributions of St. John of the Cross to Christian
spirituality is his doctrine regarding the development of the
theological life. In his written and oral magisterium he focuses
his attention on the trilogy of faith, hope and love, which
constitute the primary attitudes of Christian existence. At
every stage of the spiritual journey God's communication with
man and of man's response to God turn upon the theological
united to charity and to hope, produces this intimate and savory
knowledge which we call or experience awareness of God, life of
faith, and Christian contemplation. It is something that goes
much beyond theological or philosophical reflection. Many simple
and unselfish souls receive it from God by means of the Spirit.
In dedicating his Spiritual Canticle to Ana de Jesus, the author
notes: "Even though Your Reverence lacks training in scholastic
theology by which the divine truths are understood, you are not
wanting in mystical theology which is known through love and by
which one not only knows but at the same time experiences" (12).
Christ reveals Himself as the Beloved, and even more, as the one
who loves first, as the poem El pastorcico (The Shepherd Boy)
paths of the life of faith
just man will live by faith" (Rom 1:17; cf. Hab 2:4). He lives
by the faithfulness of God to His gifts and promises. He lives
by surrendering himself in trust to God's service. Faith is the
principle of life and its plenitude. For this reason the
Christian is called faithful-Christ's faithful
("Christifidelis"). The Revealing God permeates all his
existence. The believer's entire life is governed by principles
of faith. They are his basic criteria. The Mystical Doctor
observes: "We must in all of this presuppose a fundamental
principle which will be like a staff, a continual support for
our journey. It must be kept in mind, because it is the light
which will be our guide and master in this doctrine. By it we
must, amid all these goods, direct joy to God. The principle is
this: The will should rejoice only in what is for the honor and
glory of God, and the greatest honor we can give Him is to serve
Him according to evangelical perfection anything not included in
such service is without value to man" (13).
many aspects of faith education to which the Saint gives special
attention, I wish to highlight two which are especially
important in the lives of Christians today. They are: the
relationship between natural reason and faith, and living out
faith through interior prayer.
might surprise us that the Doctor of Faith and of the Dark Night
extols so earnestly the value of human reason. His is the
celebrated axiom: "One thought alone of man is worth more than
the entire world; hence, God alone is worthy of him" (14).
Rational man's superiority to the rest of mundane reality should
not lead to pretensions of earthly dominion. Instead it ought to
guide him toward his most proper end, union with God, to whom he
is similar in dignity. For that reason, faith does not justify
scorning human reason. Nor is human rationality to be regarded
as opposed to the divine message. On the contrary, they work
together in intimate collaboration: "A person can get sufficient
guidance from natural reason, and the law and doctrine of the
Gospel" (15). Faith is not a disincarnate reality. Its proper
subject is man a rational being, with his lights and limits. The
theologian and the believer cannot renounce their rationality;
instead, they must open it to the horizons of mystery (16).
experience of faith, or living it out, through interior prayer
is another aspect which John of the Cross specially highlights
in his writings. For that matter, it is also a constant concern
of the Church in its efforts to form faith and to secure the
cultural and theological development of the faithful, so that
their interior life may grow deep and they may be able to give
an account of what they believe. But the Christian faith needs
not only intellectual advancement. It must undergo development
in its contemplative dimension. The Christian must encounter God
in mystery. This is precisely the aim of the Spanish mystic's
great pastoral concerns.
of the Cross has educated generations of faithful in
contemplative prayer which he calls "knowledge or loving
awareness" of God and of the mysteries which He has revealed to
us. The pages which the Saint dedicated to this type of prayer
are well known (17). He would have us always pray with a gaze of
faith and contemplative love: in our liturgical celebrations,
our adoration of the Eucharist-eternal fount hidden in the
Living Bread-in our contemplation of the Trinity and of Christ's
mysteries, in our loving attentiveness to God's word, in our
prayerful communion mediated by sacred images and our rapt
silence as we regard the beauty of creation and the "woods and
thickets planted by the hand of my Beloved" (18). In all of
these, he educates the soul for a simplified kind of interior
union with Christ: "Since God, then, as the giver communes with
him through a simple, loving knowledge, the individual also, as
the receiver, communes with God through a simple and loving
knowledge or attention, so that knowledge is thus joined with
knowledge and love with love" (19).
night of faith and the silence of God
Mystical Doctor appeals today to many believers and
non-believers because he describes the dark night as an
experience which is typically human and Christian. Our age has
known times of anguish which have made us understand this
expression better and which have furthermore given it a kind of
collective character. Our age speaks of the silence or absence
of God. It has known so many calamities, so much suffering
inflicted by wars and by the destruction of so many innocent
beings. The term dark night is now used of all of life and not
just of a phase of the spiritual journey. The Saint's doctrine
is now invoked in response to this unfathomable mystery of human
I refer to
this specific world of suffering about which I spoke in the
Apostolic Exhortation Salvifici Doloris. Physical, moral and
spiritual suffering, like sickness-like the plagues of hunger,
like war, injustice, solitude, the lack of meaning in life, the
very fragility of human existence, the sorrowful knowledge of
sin, the seeming absence of God-are for the believer all
purifying experiences which might be called night of faith.
experience St. John of the Cross has given the symbolic and
evocative name dark night, and he makes it refer explicitly to
the light and obscurity of the mystery of faith. He does not try
to give to the appaling problem of suffering an answer in the
speculative order; but in the light of the Scripture and of
experience he discovers and sifts out something of the marvelous
transformation which God effects in the darkness, since "He
knows how to draw good from evil so wisely and beautifully"
(20). In the final analysis, we are faced with living the
mystery of death and resurrection in Christ in all truth.
feeling that God is silent or absent, whether voiced as an
accusation or as a complaint, is an almost spontaneous reaction
to the experience of pain and injustice. The very people who do
not credit God with their joy hold Him responsible in detail for
human suffering. The Christian, however, feels the torment of
the loss of God or of alienation from Him in a different, and
often deeper way, to the point of feeling flung down into the
darkness of the abyss.
of the dark night finds in this experience the loving hand of
the Divine Teacher. He is silent and hides Himself sometimes
because He has already spoken and manifested Himself with
sufficient clarity. Even the experience of His absence can
communicate faith, love, and hope to one who humbly and meekly
opens himself to God. The Saint writes: "The soul wore this
white tunic of faith when it departed on the dark night and
walked ... in the midst of interior darkness and straits ... and
suffered with constancy and perseverance, passing through these
trials without growing discouraged or failing the Beloved. The
Beloved so proves the faith of His bride in tribulations that
she can afterwards truthfully declare what David says: Because
of the words of your lips I have kept hard ways (Ps 16:4)" (21).
schooling at God's hand is an expression of love and mercy which
gives back to man a sense of gratitude so that he is free to
accept God's gift of Himself. At other times it makes him feel
the full effect of sin, which is both an offense against God and
death and the void for man. The dark night educates man so that
he is able to discern regarding God's presence or absence. Thus
schooled, he no longer depends on pleasant or unpleasant
feelings to guide him, for he is led by faith and by love. God
remains his loving Father, in the hour of pleasure and in the
hour of pain.
contemplation of Christ Crucified
Jesus Christ, the final Word of the Father, can disclose the
mysterious meaning of suffering and, through His glorious Cross,
light up the darkest night of the Christian. St. John of the
Cross, consistent with what he teaches about Christ, tells us
that after God revealed his Son He "was, as it were, mute, with
no more to say" (22). The silence of God speaks its most
eloquent and revealing word of love in Christ Crucified.
of Fontiveros, who habitually contemplated the mystery of the
Cross of Christ, invites us to do so too in the poem of El
Pastorcico (The Shepherd Boy) and in his celebrated drawing of
Christ Crucified which is known as the Christ of St. John of the
Cross. John wrote some of the most sublime pages in Christian
literature on the mystery of the abandonment of Christ on the
Cross (23). Christ experienced suffering in all its rigour right
up until His death on the Cross. In those last moments, extreme
physical and psychological and spiritual pain combine to wreak
all their fury upon him: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned
me?" This atrocious suffering, provoked by hate and lies, has a
profound redemptive value. It was ordained so "as to pay the
debt fully and bring man to union with God" (24). By means of
His loving surrender to the Father in the moment of extreme
abandonment and of greatest love, "He accomplished the most
marvelous work of His whole life, surpassing all the works and
deed and miracles that Me had ever performed on earth or in
heaven; that is, He brought about the reconciliation and union
of the human race with God through grace" (25). In that way, the
mystery of the Cross of Christ reveals the gravity of sin and
the immensity of the love of the Redeemer of man.
who live by faith habitually make the Cross of Christ their
point of reference and norm of living. "When something
distasteful or unpleasant comes your way, remember Christ
crucified and be silent" (26). Faith becomes a flame of charity,
stronger than death. It is the seed and fruit of resurrection:
"Do not think of any other thing," writes the Saint in a moment
of trial, "but that God ordains all, and where there is no love,
put in love and you will draw out love," (27). Because
ultimately, "At evening they will examine you in love" (28).
message of universal impact
those who seek God
17. It is
a joy, in commemorating the death of St. John of the Cross, to
attest to the multitudes of persons from the most diverse points
of view who are drawn to his writings: mystics and poets,
philosophers and psychologists, representatives of other
religious creeds, men and women of culture, and plain folk.
to him because they are attracted by the humanistic values he
represents, for instance: language, philosophy, and psychology.
He speaks to all of the truth of God and of the surpassing
vocation of man. For this reason many who read his writings only
for the profundity of his experience or for the beauty of his
poetry consciously or unconsciously assimilate his teachings. On
the other hand, mystics like our Saint are great witnesses of
the truth of God and masters through whom the Gospel of Christ
and the Catholic Church sometimes receive a favorable reception
among the followers of other religions.
But he is
also the guide of those within the holy Church who seek greater
intimacy with God. His magisterium is solid fare, full of
doctrine and life. The theologian "called to intensify his life
of faith and ever unite scientific investigation and prayer" can
learn from him, and so can directors of conscience, for whom he
wrote many spiritually clear-sighted pages (29).
message for Spain, his homeland
18. I take
pleasure in addressing in a special way on this occasion the
Church in Spain, which is celebrating the fourth centenary of
the death of the Saint as a Church event that touches the lives
of individual people, families, and society.
epoch in which John of the Cross lived, Spain was a radiating
focus of Catholic faith and missionary outreach. That
environment motivated and helped him, so that the Saint of
Fontiveros was able to bring together harmoniously faith and
culture, experience and doctrine in a personal synthesis that
was built up of the most solid values that the theological and
spiritual tradition of his country provided. And he did so with
the beauty of its language and poetry. In him the peoples of
Spain have one of their most universally known representatives.
unavoidable problems in the field of faith and of public life
challenge the Spanish Church today, as its bishops have
accurately noted in some of their most recent documents. Their
efforts ought, therefore, to guide and revitalize Christian life
so that the Catholic faith, convinced and free, may find
personal and community expression in being professed openly,
lived consistently, and witnessed to through service.(30) In a
pluralistic society like the present one, the Christians'
personal option of faith, which is threatened by anonymity and
the temptation of disbelief, demands a new attitude consistent
with the grace of baptism and a conscious and loving commitment
to the Church.
in Spain is also called to serve society by promoting a suitable
harmony between the Christian message and the values of culture.
That means stirring up an open and living faith which carries
the new lifeblood of the Gospel to the various areas of public
life. This synthesis must be brought fully into practice by
committed Christian lay people in the different sectors of
culture. For this deep interior renewal of community and
culture, John of the Cross offers the example of his life and
the wealth of his writings.
Sons and Daughters of Carmel
growing interest which St. John of the Cross awakens in our
contemporaries is a motive for legitimate satisfaction,
particularly for the sons and daughters of the Teresian Carmel
of whom he is Father, master, and guide. It is also a sign that
the charism of life and of service which God has given you in
the Church continues to have full vigor and validity.
charism is not a material possession or a heritage guaranteed
once and for all. It is a grace of the Spirit which demands of
you fidelity and creativity in communion with the Church to
whose needs you must always show yourself attentive. To all of
you who are sons and brothers, daughters and sisters of St.
Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross, I remind you that
your vocation is a motive of grave responsibility more than of
painstaking care with which you have seen to the presentation of
the writings and the diffusion of the message of your Father and
Doctor of the Church is certainly a worthwhile service to the
Church. So are your efforts to make it easier to understand his
doctrine by fostering suitable studies and by providing the
instruction necessary for those who would begin to read him and
apply his doctrine to life. But the Teresian Carmel must
certainly take its response further and give the fruitful
witness of a rich experience of your personal and community
life. Each Discalced Carmelite, each community and the entire
Order are called upon to incarnate the traits which shine forth
in the life and writings of him who is, as it were, "the living
image of the Discalced Carmelite": austerity, intimacy with God,
intense prayer, evangelical fraternity and a commitment to
promoting prayer and Christian perfection through the spiritual
teaching and direction which are your specific apostolate in the
blessing it would be to find the word and life of the Carmelite
Saint incarnate and personified in each son and daughter of
Carmel! So many daughters and sons of yours have done so.
Throughout these four centuries they have known how to live
their intimacy with God. They have practiced mortification and
fidelity to prayer. They have helped one another as spiritual
brothers and sisters. They have set their path through the dark
nights of faith. John of the Cross has taught them through his
writings. His life has made him their model.
this occasion I cannot fail to direct a word of thanks and of
exhortation to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns. The Saint specially
favoured them by dedicating to them the best of his apostolate
and his teaching. He took pains to form them on an individual
and community basis. He instructed them and guided them through
his presence and his confession ministry. Mother Teresa of Jesus
had presented him to her daughters as having the best of
credentials for a spiritual director: he was "a heavenly and
divine man", "very spiritual, very experienced and very
learned." They could open their souls to him and so progress in
perfection, "since our Lord has given him this particular grace"
Discalced Carmelite Nuns have meditated lovingly on the writings
of the Holy Doctor and, through them, have reached the summits
of the interior life. Some of them are universally known as his
daughters and disciples. It is enough to remember the names of
Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, Mariam of Jesus
Crucified, Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) and Teresa of Los Andes.
Therefore, my dear Discalced Carmelite Nuns scattered throughout
the entire world, continue to seek with determination this pure
love of intimacy with God which makes your lives so fruitful in
Portraying for you St. John of the Cross on the occasion of the
fourth centenary of his death has enabled me to share some
thoughts about one of the messages at the heart of his
magisterium: the dimensions of evangelical faith. It is a
message which he, in his own historical time and setting,
incarnated in his heart and his life. It is a message which
continues to bear fruit in the Church.
As I bring
this letter to a close, I set out in spirit on pilgrimage and go
to his native town of Fontiveros. There he was baptized and
received the first fruits of the faith. I follow him all the way
to the Andalusian convent of Ubeda, where he passed to glory. I
kneel at his tomb in Segovia. These places are blessed with the
memory of his earthly life. For God's people they are temples
where the Saint is venerated and the permanent Chair from which
he continues to proclaim his message of the theological life.
presenting him today in a solemn form before the Church and
before the world, I wish to invite the sons and daughters of
Carmel, the Christians of Spain his homeland, and also all those
who search for God in the pathways of beauty, of theology, and
of contemplation to listen to his testimony of faith and of
evangelical life in order that they may feel themselves
attracted, as he was, by the beauty of God and by the love of
Christ the Beloved.
Redeemer and His Most Holy Mother I entrust the events which
will be held during this jubilee year to commemorate the passing
to glory of St. John of the Cross. At the same time I impart my
heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.
Rome, at St. Peter's, on the 14th Day of December, Feast of St.
John of the Cross, in the year 1990, the thirteenth of my
1. Edition of
the Saint's works in Spanish, Madrid, Biblioteca de Autores
Cristianos, Madrid, 1979. [Translator's note: Citations in
English are taken from The Collected Works of St. John of the
Cross, Washington, ICS Publications, 1979. Where reference
numbers differ from the Spanish edition, they are indicated in
square brackets, below.]
2. Cf. AAS
LXXV (1983), pp. 293-299.
Council Vatican III, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, On
the Church in the modern world, 21. [Citations in English from
Vatican II: The conciliar and postconciliar documents Northport,
Costello Publishing Company, 1975.]
4. Ibid., 19.
5. Ascent of
Mt. Carmel, II, 29, 1.
Canticle B, 26, 13.
de Beatificacion y Canonizacion, Declaration by Fray Alonso de
la Madre de Dios, in Biblioteca Mistica Carmelitana, XIV,
Burgos, 1931, p. 370.
8. Sayings of
Light and Love, Prologue.
de Beatificacion y Canonizacion, Declaration by Maria de la
Cruz, in Biblioteca Mistica Carmelitana, XIV, Burgos, 1931, p.
Canticle B, 1, 6 and 8.
11. Ascent of
Mount Carmel, II, 24, 8.
Canticle B, Prologue, 3.
13. Ascent of
Mount Carmel, III, 17, 2.
of Light and Love, 34 .
15. Ascent of
Mount Carmel, II, 21, 4.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the
ecclesial vocation of the theologian (24-V-1990), 6.
Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 13-14; Living Flame of Love, 3, 32
ff, cf. Congregation for the Doctrineof the Faith, Letter to the
Bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of Christian
meditation (15-X-1989), 19.
Canticle B, 4.
Flame of Love, 3, 34.
Canticle B, 23, 5.
Night, II, 21, 5.
22. Ascent of
Mount Carmel, II, 22, 4.
23. Cf. Ibid,
II, 7, 5-11.
24. Ascent of
Mount Carmel, II, 7, 11.
number 20 .
number 27 .
of Light and Love, 59 .
Congration for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on the
ecclesial vocation of the theologian (24-V-1990), 8.
Living Flame of Love, 3, 30 and ff.
31. Letter to
Ana de Jesus, November-December, 1578.
the December 24, 1990 issue of "L'Osservatore Romano"