To help us to continue on our journey together in Carmel, I thought I would offer a short monthly reflection on Carmelite Spirituality.
I believe we are united in spirit and that in some mysterious the place within, the place where God dwells, is also the place where we encounter each other in and through the love of God.
I plan to begin this series with John of the Cross and his sayings of light and love. The sayings were written by John for those who sought his spiritual wisdom and accompaniment, to be taken away and reflected upon in whatever way the individual found helpful.
We pray for each other and the World, again in Teresa’s words…’for the best thing we can do is place everything in the hands of God.’
with so much love in Carmel Gillian
St. John of the Cross
Many people from all walks of life sought John out for his spiritual direction and wisdom. One of the methods he used was to jot down little ‘sayings’ which people could take away for personnel prayer and reflection.
Over the next few months, I would like to share some of these with you, with the occasional personnel comment but mostly for you to ponder and reflect upon as the spirit leads.
Though they were written for individual people they form the basis of John’s teaching on the spiritual life, that is the experience of a life lived in relationship with God.
In his prologue to the sayings he makes it clear that he is very aware that it is one thing to be able to express something in words but quite another to be able to embody, to live the reality of the words. It is his desire that those who receive them will be ‘stirred’, stirred to go forward in the service and love of God.
Love and service for John are the hallmarks of what it means to live a full, genuine, authentic Christian life.
When we are stirred something shifts, somethings changes in us, we experience, we see things in a new way. To be stirred suggests movement, it may be unsettling, a call to action or even a call to less action!
John is writing for, in his language, ‘the wayfarer’, a person on a journey, on the move;
‘They will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, light for the way and love in the wayfaring.’
And he goes on;
‘let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love…removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error…’
These sayings are to encourage, to uplift, not to trip people up, catch them out, but enable them to see, to move into deeper levels of awareness.
O lord my God,
Who will seek you
with simple and pure love
and not find that you are all one can desire,
for you show yourself first
and go out to meet those who seek you?
(St John of the Cross, sayings of light and love number 2)
O sweetest love of God,
So little known,
Has found this rich mine
Is at rest!
(St John of the Cross, sayings of light and love number 16)