Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. (Mt 5:11,12a)
ST JOHN OF THE CROSS, CONFESSOR AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH – FEAST DAY: DECEMBER 14
John of the Cross was born of pious parents at Hontiveros in Spain, and from his very infancy was dear to the Virgin Mother of God. When he was fifteen years old and fell into a well, the hand of the same Mother of God lifted him out and he escaped unharmed. As a young man, he offered himself as a servant to the sick poor in the hospital of Medina del Campo.
Then he entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, where, under obedience, he was ordained a priest and followed the primitive rule. But, burning with ardour to promote a stricter discipline, he was divinely given as a companion to St Teresa, who considered him among the purest and most excellent souls at that time adorning the Church of God, that she might restore the primitive observance of the Carmelite Order among his brethren.
In this work, after he had laboured zealously and suffered much, he was asked by Christ what reward he desired for so many labours. He replied: “Lord, to suffer and to be despised for you.” He wrote many books of mystical theology abounding with heavenly wisdom. Finally, at Ubeda, most patiently enduring a dreadful malady, he fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1591, in the forty-ninth year of his age. Pius XI, after consulting the Congregation of Sacred Rites, declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.
St John of the Cross, pray for us.
– From: An Approved Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964