A Meditation from St. John of the Cross, WARNING: This is Deep!

The third blind man is the soul which, by not understanding itself, disturbs and harms itself.  Since it only knows how to act by means of the senses and discursive reflection, it thinks it is doing nothing when God introduces it into that emptiness and solitude where it is unable to use the faculties and make acts, and as a result it strains to perform these acts.  The soul, therefore, that was enjoying the idleness of spiritual peace and silence, in which God was secretly adorning it, is distracted and filled with dryness and displeasure.

It will happen that while God persists in keeping the soul in that silent quietude, it persists in its desire to act through its own efforts with the intellect and the imagination.  It resembles a child who kicks and cries in order to walk when his mother wants to carry him, and thus neither allows his mother to make any headway nor makes any himself; or it resembles one who moves a painting back and forth while the artist is at work so that either nothing is accomplished or the painting is damaged.

A person should take note that even though he does not seem to be making any progress in this quietude or doing anything, he is advancing much faster than if he were treading along on foot, for God is carrying him.  Although he is walking at God's pace, he does not feel this pace.  Even though he does no work with his faculties, he achieves much more than if he did, for God is the agent.

It is no wonder if he does not advert to this, for the senses do not attain to what God effects in the soul at this time.  As the Wise Man says:  "The words of wisdom are heard in silence" (Eccl. 9:17).

A soul, then, should abandon itself into God's hands and not its own, nor those of the other blind men; for, insofar as it abandons itself to God and does not apply its faculties to anything, it will advance securely.

- St. John of the Cross (December's Magnificat)


Leave a comment