Thursday, 27 June 2013
from The Dark Night by John of the Cross
One dark night, fired with love's urgent longings - ah, the sheer grace! - I went out unseen, my house being now all stilled. In darkness, and secure, by the secret ladder, disguised, - ah, the sheer grace! - in darkness and concealment, my house being now all stilled. On that glad night in secret, for no one saw me, nor did I look at anything with no other light or guide than the One that burned in my heart. This guided me more surely than the light of noon to where he was awaiting me - him I knew so well - there in a place where no one appeared. O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn! O night that has united the Lover with his beloved, transforming the Beloved into his Lover. Upon my flowering breast, which I kept wholly for him alone, there he lay sleeping, and I caressing him there in a breeze from the fanning cedars. When the breeze blew from the turret, as I parted his hair, it wounded my neck with its gentle hand, suspending all my senses. I abandoned and forgot myself, laying my face on my Beloved; all things ceased; I went out from myself, leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.
Now I occupy my soul
and all my energy in his service;
I no longer tend the herd,
nor have I any other work
now that my every act is love.
If, then, I am no longer
seen or found on the common,
you will say that I am lost;
that, stricken by love,
I lost myself, and was found.
This is part of Cyril's commentary on the Last Supper discourse in John. Appropriate for a last posting, I think...
The prophet Isaiah calls Christ the foundation, because it is upon him that we as living and spiritual stones are built into a holy priesthood to be a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. Upon no other foundation than Christ can this temple be built. Here Christ is teaching the same truth by calling himself the vine, since the vine is the parent of its branches, and provides their nourishment.
From Christ and in Christ, we have been reborn through the Spirit in order to bear the fruit of life; not the fruit of our old, sinful life but the fruit of a new life founded upon our faith in him and our love for him. Like branches growing from a vine, we now draw our life from Christ, and we cling to his holy commandment in order to preserve this life. Eager to safeguard the blessing of our noble birth, we are careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, and who makes us aware of God’s presence in us.
Let the wisdom of John teach us how we live in Christ and Christ lives in us: The proof that we are living in him and he is living in us is that he has given us a share in his Spirit. Just as the trunk of the vine gives its own natural properties to each of its branches, so, by bestowing on them the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, gives Christians a certain kinship with himself and with God the Father because they have been united to him by faith and determination to do his will in all things. He helps them to grow in love and reverence for God, and teaches them to discern right from wrong and to act with integrity.
Labels: doctors of the Church