Feast of All Carmelite Saints ~ Novena Day 7 – November 12

“The Divine assails the human soul in order to renew it

and thus to make it Divine.”

St. John of the Cross ~ Dark Night of the Soul

When Jesus issues His invitation: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,” most in today’s world will tend to shy away from following Him upon realizing that the allurements of the world are more comfortable and far easier to embrace than the cross. In Dark Night of the Soul, the great Spanish Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, quickly disabuses us of the notion of an easy “stroll through the park” for the soul seeking union with God, as he describes the painful experience and internal trials the soul must endure to achieve unity with God. St. John tells us that the soul must completely purge itself from all earthly attachments in order for it to become filled with God. This seems difficult, because it is. However, St. John encourages us to embrace the trials that come our way because there is real salvific value in suffering. If even by “baby steps” we accept and make our own walk toward Calvary, embracing our own cross in life, we will be following Jesus’ example and our eternal reward will be great.

“Lord, you endowed our Father, St. John of the Cross, with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross. By following his example, may we come to the eternal vision of your glory. We ask this through our Lord.” (Carmelite Proper of Saints)