November 19th, 2011

Don't Take Yourself, or What You Do, Seriously -- Advice from John of the Cross.

Ascent of Mount Carmel | Christian Classics Ethereal Library

There are at least seven problems that come with rejoicing in my good works.

1) I become prideful.
2) I start judging others.
3) I seek extrinsic rewards.
4) I make sour the sweetness of what i do (i need to get back to this one)
5) I stop my spiritual journey in its tracks
6) I succumb to self deception, and
7) i become "incapable of receiving reasonable instruction about the good works that i should perform."

             From John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book III, Chapter 25 (in my copy, Chapter 28 at the link??).

John of the Cross: Dark Night -- Poem, Short and Sweet; Prose, Long and Bitter

Dark Night
poetry by John of the Cross
(1542 - 1591)

English version by
Ivan M. Granger

(Songs of the soul delighted at having reached the high state of perfection, the union with God, by way of spiritual negation.)

On a darkened night,
Anxious, by love inflamed,
-- O happy chance! --
Unnoticed, I took flight,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

Safe, disguised by the night,
By the secret ladder I took flight,
-- O happy chance! --
Cloaked by darkness, I scaled the height,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

On that blessed night,
In secret, and seen by none,
None in sight,
I saw with no other guide or light,
But the one burning in my heart bright.

This guide, this light,
Brighter than the midday sun,
Led me to the waiting One
I knew so well -- my delight!
To a place with none in sight.

O night! O guide!
O night more loving than the dawn!
O night that joined
The lover with the Beloved;
Transformed, the lover into the Beloved drawn!

Upon my flowered breast,
For him alone kept fair,
There he slept
There I caressed,
There the cedars gave us air.

I drank the turret's cool air
Spreading playfully his hair.
And his hand, so serene,
Cut my throat. Drained
Of senses, I dropped unaware.

Lost to myself and yet remaining,
Inclined so only the Beloved I spy.
All has ceased, all rests,
Even my cares, even I;
Lost among the lilies, there I die.

John of the Cross: Dark NightCollapse )