Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 16 September |
Saint of the Day: Sts Cornelius and Cyprian
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

St. John of the Cross summarizes the true spirit of Christmas in this one quote

JOHN

Wellcome Collection gallery | CC BY 4.0

Philip Kosloski - published on 12/14/19

If you read anything this Advent, read this inspirational quote from St. John of the Cross.

Much is always said about the “spirit of Christmas,” especially in nearly ever Christmas movie ever made! In general this refers to a “spirit of giving,” as well as hope, and sometimes charity.

The quest to find the true spirit of Christmas is always in stark contrast with the consumer culture that has taken over the holiday, turning it into a season of “getting,” instead of a season of “giving.”

St. John of the Cross understood the spiritual life in such a profound way that he was able to summarize the true “spirit” of this time of year (as well as the Christian life in general) in the following quotation.

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

This meditation is most fitting, as Advent is often connected to “twilight” and “evening,” because during this season the Northern Hemisphere is shrouded in the darkness of night. Furthermore, the evening is symbolic of our own final days on this earth, before we enter the “light” of eternal life.

All of this together means that during Advent (as well as all year long) we need to realize that it love and charity is what truly matters and not how many material presents we receive on Christmas.

St. John of the Cross was a big proponent of emptying ourselves of all earthly attachments in order to achieve a greater union with God.

In the end, all of this will pass away and all that will remain are the good deeds that we practiced during life.


SAINT PAUL

Read more:
Meditate frequently during Advent on this quote from St. Paul


SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS

Read more:
Better than fasting: Spiritual advice from a mystic, a poet, a doctor, and a saint

Tags:
AdventChristmas

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
CELEBRITIES
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
4
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
5
Mychal Judge
John Burger
The priests of 9/11
6
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.