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The Feast of Saint John of the Cross

This ladder is in daylight and undisguised. But we know those places in our hearts that are not quite so apparent. And so does our God.

Today is the Feast of Saint John of the Cross, a Spanish Carmelite saint and mystic from the 16th century. One of his most famous (and moving) poems is entitled, “The Dark Night.” Below are a few stanzas.

1. One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
– ah, the sheer grace! –
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
– him I knew so well –
there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

Posted by opreach on December 14, 2011

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