Category Archives: The Mystics

St. John of the Cross on the valueless #Rosary

Men take care that their rosaries are of a certain workmanship rather than another, of a certain colour or material, and with particular ornaments. One rosary does not contribute more than another towards the hearing of our prayers: he is heard who tells his beads in the simplicity and integrity of his heart, not thinking of anything but how he may please God the most; and not valuing one rosary more than another, except only for the indulgences attached to it.

Saint John of the Cross, Benedict Zimmermann, and David Lewis, The Ascent of Mount Carmel (London: Thomas Baker, 1906), 348.

St. Bonaventure on the Unity and Plurality of the Trinity

Saint Bonaventure
Saint Bonaventure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Concerning the plurality of Persons within the unity of nature, true faith bids us believe that, in the one nature, there are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The First does not originate from any of the others; the Second originates from the First alone through generation; and the Third, from both the First and the Second through spiration or procession. And yet, Trinity of Persons does not exclude from the divine essence a supreme unity, simplicity, immensity, eternity, immutability, necessity, or even primacy; more, it includes supreme fecundity, love, generosity, equality, kinship, likeness, and inseparability; all of which sound faith understands to exist in the blessed Trinity.

Saint Bonaventure, Breviloquium (trans. José De Vinck; vol. 2; The Works of Bonaventure: Cardinal Seraphic Doctor and Saint; Paterson, NJ: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1963), 35.

This godly Saint also declared Theology the only perfect science,

And so theology is the only perfect science, for it begins at the beginning, which is the first Principle, and proceeds to the end, which is the final wages paid; it begins with the summit, which is God most high, the Creator of all, and reaches even to the abyss, which is the torment of hell.

I can allow that if we understand that science of the physical world is imperfect not to its detriment but because we are human, ever seeking, ever curious, and not always knowing.

#GoodFriday – Catherine of Siena – The Grand Tournament

Saint Catherine of Siena. From chiesa di Santa...
Saint Catherine of Siena. From chiesa di Santa Maria del Rosario in Prati, Roma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Word played life against death and death against life in tournament on the wood of the most holy cross so that by his death he destroyed our death, and to give us life he spent his own bodily life. With love, then, he has so drawn us and with the kindness so conquered our malice that every heart should be won over. For a person can shown no greater love (he said so himself) than to give his or her life for a friend. And if he praises the love that gives one’s life for a friend, what shall we say of the consummate blazing love that gave his life for his enemy? For through sin we had become God’s enemies. Oh, gentle loving Word, with love you recovered your little sheep, and with love gave them life. You brought them back to the fold by restoring to them the grace they had lost.” – Catherine of Siena, What Drew Matthew to Jesus

The imagery is more Justin than Anselm, which is why I like it.

John of the Cross – If You Want

If
you want
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy,
and say,
“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.”

Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ
taking birth
forever,

as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us
is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yet there, under the dome of your being does creation
come into existence eternally, through your womb, dear pilgrim—
the sacred womb in your soul,

as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is
His beloved servant
never far.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking
down the street pregnant
with Light and sing …

–St. John of the Cross, “If You Want” in Daniel LadinskyLove Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (New York: Penguin Group, 2002), 306-307

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John of the Cross – Christ is the Final Word, Reading for Advent

English: Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deu...
Image via Wikipedia

If only… someone… could bring us John… to us Protestants….

The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.

But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.

And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.

Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.

God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.

I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles. (here)

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