The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John of the Cross & Morning Prayer

Today the Church celebrates the feast of Saint John of the Cross, the great sixteenth-century Spanish mystic and poet whose life and writings have led so many to accept God's gift of faith. John realized early in his life that the search for worldly happiness can never succeed because true joy comes only from God. He taught that we can experience this joy only when we free ourselves from worldly desires. His writings have been especially helpful to those who suffer spiritual dryness in their prayer life, those who need the reassurance of God's constant love for them during times of spiritual hardship. If you want to delve more deeply into the life of prayer, I suggest reading the works of this mystic and doctor of the Church. If you're like me, you will find his work challenging, but it's a challenge worth accepting. Here's a link to the edition of his collected works that I first read a few years ago: The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross

This morning, as I prayed the Morning Prayer of today's Liturgy of the Hours, I was particularly struck by the brief prayer that followed the recitation of Psalm 86:
"God of mercy and goodness, when Christ called out to you in torment, you heard him and gave him victory over death because of his love for you. We already know the affection you have for us; fill us with a greater love of your name and we will proclaim you more boldly before men and happily lead them to celebrate your glory."
What a wonderful prayer for us today! It leads us to thankfulness for the gift of eternal life brought about by Jesus Christ's saving act of redemption. It reminds us that this gift, indeed, the gift of creation itself, is a sign of God's overwhelming love. And it calls us to proclaim this truth "boldly" to all, so that they too can experience the joy that God promises those who love Him.

God's peace...

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