Discalced Carmelite Priest and Doctor of the Church (1542-1591)
+ Juan Yepez was born in Old Castille, Spain, in 1542. He entered the Carmelite Order in 1563 and was ordained a priest in 1567.
+ Shortly after his ordination, John of the Cross met Teresa of Avila and she invited him to join in her work of reforming the Carmelite Order. John committed himself to this effort and became the first member of the monastery of Discalced (“Barefoot”) Carmelite Friars in Durelo.
+ Serving in several administrative positions, he maintained an intimate union with God that distinguishes him as one of the greatest contemplatives in the Church’s history.
+ Despite the opposition to his work of reform, including being imprisoned by his Carmelite brothers, he dedicated his life to serving others.
+ John of the Cross’s writings, including The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love, are filled with symbols and metaphors describing the soul’s search for the Beloved. His most endearing work is his Dark Night of the Soul.
+ Saint John of the Cross died on December 14, 1591. He was canonized in 1726 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926.
For prayer and reflection
“We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit.”—Saint John of the Cross
Today, we also honor the memory of Saint Venantius Fortunatus. In his early life, he worked as a sort of wandering minstrel, supporting himself in his travels by reciting poetry and singing. He was eventually ordained a priest and, around the year 600, was named bishop of Poitiers, France. He is especially remembered for his liturgical texts, including the Holy Week hymn “The Royal Banners Forward Go,” and his lives of saints. He died around the year 605.
O God, who gave the Priest Saint John
an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial
and love of the Cross,
grant that, by imitating him closely at all times,
we may come to contemplate eternally your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.