Feast Day of St. John of the Cross

In the words of my Confirmation Saint:

The apostle Paul said of Christ: “In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.

All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life. Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way the the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross….

The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

— Saint John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, str. 36 – 37

I know that I did not choose Him, but He chose me. I also know that I did not choose the austere path traced most sublimely by my Confirmation Saint. God calls me to this path. Even its profoundly counter-cultural nature (in this era ruled by the simplistic psycho-materialism of Freud) is a sort of proof of authenticity for me.

Yet, intimidated by the cacophany of pop-wisdom and community expectations, I have always vacillated in my commitment! How I have been drawn by the obscure founts of wisdom hidden in the darkness, and how equally long I have been intimidated by that same darkness, leaving it as a persistent romantic echo on the margins of my life! Yet, I feel drawn by John’s predestinatory statement above: “It is given to few to desire to pass through it.”

I find little support on the path of the cross in my entourage, even among most committed Catholics. It is a solitary path dependent upon prayer and a few precious writings.

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