St. John of the Cross: “To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing”

Today is the Feast of St John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church. He is a tremendous model of faith, hope, love, humility, self denial, and detachment. He asked God for suffering, knowing that suffering is a great weapon in the way toward sanctity, and he got what he asked for. His prose in the Dark Night is not to be missed; it’s unlike anything you’ve ever read. He provides so much wisdom in so few words. Happy feast!

“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”

“Well and good if all things change, O Lord God, provided I am rooted in You.”

“Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love.”

“Now that I no longer desire all, I have it all without desire.”

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he’s traveling on, then he must close his eyes and travel in the dark.”

“God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery, transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.”

“Happiness is not a destination, it’s a method of travel.”

“To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing. To come to possess all, desire the possession of nothing. To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing. To come to the knowledge of all, desire the knowledge of nothing. To come to enjoy what you have not, you must go by a way in which you enjoy not. To come to the possession you have not, you must go by a way in which you possess not. To come to what you are not, you must go by a way in which you are not.”

“If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress in perfection.”

“There is nothing better or more necessary than love.”

“Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you, for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love.”

“At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love”

And finally this, which we do well never to forget: 

“Some of these beginners, too, make little of their faults, and at other times become over-sad when they see themselves fall into them, thinking themselves to have been saints already; and thus they become angry and impatient with themselves, which is another imperfection. Often they beseech God, with great yearnings, that He will take from them their imperfections and faults, but they do this that they may find themselves at peace, and may not be troubled by them, rather than for God’s sake; not realizing that, if He should take their imperfections from them, they would probably become prouder and more presumptuous still. They dislike praising others and love to be praised themselves; sometimes they seek out such praise. Herein they are like the foolish virgins, who, when their lamps could not be lit, sought oil from others.”

St. John of the Cross, pray for us.

7 thoughts on “St. John of the Cross: “To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing””

  1. O Blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in You. Let Your mighty calmness reign in me, O You, King of gentleness, King of Peace. Amen

    St. John of the Cross, pray for us.

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