St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

  • “If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

  • “Beloved, all that is harsh and difficult I want for myself, and all that is gentle and sweet for thee”

  • “In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”

  • “Desolation is a file, and the endurance of darkness is preparation for great light.”

  • “To saints, their very slumber is a prayer.”

  •  “In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”

  •  “It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.”

  • “Abide in peace, banish cares, take no account of all that happens, and you will serve God according to his good pleasure and rest in him.”

  • “Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved.”

  • “If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.”

  •  “He who interrupts the course of his spiritual exercises and prayer is like a man who allows a bird to escape from his hand; he can hardly catch it again.”

  • “The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.”

  • “Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with him continually, and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.”

The Sayings of Light and Love

As translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (1991)

  • One human thought alone is worth more than the entire world, hence God alone is worthy of it.

  • The very pure spirit does not bother about the regard of others or human respect, but communes inwardly with God, alone and in solitude as to all forms, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.

  • If you wish to attain holy recollection, you will do so not by receiving but by denying.

  • Souls will be unable to reach perfection who do not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that their natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquility and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.

  • Although you perform many works, if you do not deny your will and submit yourself, losing all solicitude about yourself and your affairs, you will not make progress.

  • If you desire to discover peace and consolation for your soul and to serve God truly, do not find your satisfaction in what you have left behind, because in that which now concerns you you may be as impeded as you were before, or even more. But leave as well all these other things and attend to one thing alone that brings all these with it (namely, holy solitude, together with prayer and spiritual and divine reading), and persevere there in forgetfulness of all things.

  • Love consists not in feeling great things but in having great detachment and in suffering for the Beloved.

  • Not all the faculties and senses have to be employed in things, but only those that are required; as for the others, leave them unoccupied for God.

  • The soul that desires God to surrender himself to it entirely must surrender itself entirely to him without keeping anything for itself.

  • Strive to preserve your heart in peace; let no event of this world disturb it; reflect that all must come to an end.

  • Whoever flees prayer flees all that is good.

  • Live as though only God and yourself were in this world, so that your heart may not be detained by anything human.

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