Sixteenth Century A.D.

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The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment
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Last Revised: 10 February 2005




Enlightenment Teachings and Experiences

Details of bibliographic acronyms are available here .




Subject: St. John of the Cross (Juan de Yepes)
Dates: 1542-1591
Tradition: Discalced Carmelite Order, Roman Catholic

O living flame of love,
how tenderly you wound
my soul in her profoundest core!
You are no longer shy.
Do it now, I ask you:
break the membrane of our sweet union.

O soothing cautery!
O wound that is a joy!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
tasting of eternity,
repaying every debt.
Killing, you turn my death into life. (CWSJC, 57.)

Upon my flowering breast
Which I kept wholly for Him alone,
There He lay sleeping,
And I caressing Him
There in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

When the breeze blew from the turret
Parting His hair,
He wounded my neck
With His gentle hand,
Suspending all my senses.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
Laying my face on my Beloved;
All things ceased; I went out from myself,
Leaving my cares
Forgotten among the lilies. (CWSJC, 69.)

Now when the fear of God is perfect, love is also perfect, and love is perfect when the transformation of the soul in God is achieved. (CWSJC, 75.)

God is ... a dark night to man in this life. (CWSJC, 75.)

A man by his appetite feed[s] and pasture[s] on worldly things that gratify his faculties. When the appetites are extinguished -- or mortified -- he no longer feeds upon the pleasures of these things, but lives in a void and in darkness. (CWSJC, 76.)

This flame of love is the Spirit of its Bridegroom, which is the Holy Spirit. The soul feels Him within itself not only as a fire which has consumed and transformed it, but as a fire that burns and flares within it.... And that flame, every time it flares up, bathes the soul in glory and refreshes it with the quality of divine life. Such is the activity of the Holy Spirit in the soul transformed in love: the interior acts He produces shoot up flames for they are acts of inflamed love, in which the will of the soul united with that flame, made one with it, loves most sublimely. (CWSJC, 580.)

Such is the sweetness of deep delight of these touches of God that one of them is more than recompense for all the sufferings of this life, however great their number. (CC, 149.)


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The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment
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