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12 February 2015

Sayings of Light and Love

St. John of the Cross


In the style of the apothegms of the Desert Fathers, John of the Cross’s teaching first comes in these hard, clean, unsentimental sayings that overflow with spiritual wisdom. They give to their recipients treasures that must first be unlocked; as maxims they were to be repeated and mulled over. While he was spiritual director in Avila, before he had undertaken any of his larger treatises, John jotted down many thoughts and counsels for the guidance of those whom he directed, probably similar to the ones expressed in the later collections. None of those earlier sayings has come down to us, but we know from witnesses that this practice was characteristic of the Carmelite confessor at that time. After John’s imprisonment in Toledo, when he took up spiritual direction again, this time in Andalusia, he returned once more to the practice of condensing his thought into concise spiritual counsels for his penitents. They could keep them for inspiration, so as to be stirred in the Lord’s service and love. Sometimes these sayings were directed to the particular needs of an individual; at other times they were destined more for a group of persons. The number of sayings that circulated must have been large, but comparatively few have come down to us, and they come through different collections.

The most distinguished collection is contained in an autograph manuscript, the largest autograph we have from John. Restored in 1976 and reproduced in a facsimile edition, the manuscript is preserved in the church Santa Maria la Mayor in Andajar (JaŽn). In his prologue to this collection, John calls his maxims “sayings of light and love”. The title, Sayings of Light and Love, comes then from John’s own words, and provides a good general designation for the other collections as well. Footnotes will indicate where one collection ends and another begins and the source from which each comes.

Sometimes, rather than being counsels destined for others, these sayings have an autobiographical coloring, as for example in the celebrated Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love. Here John in a profound experience of spiritual poverty becomes aware that God has pardoned him and given him everything in Jesus Christ; love then carries him off in a lyric outburst.

Though these sayings do not follow in any systematic order, we do find in them the important themes that the Carmelite friar developed at length in his major works. What he there expounds in detail, he here compresses into dense aphorisms. Much difficulty lies in deciding whether many of the maxims attributed to John actually did come from his pen, or disciples culled them from his sermons and conferences, or if they are simply spurious. Omitting the counsels of Madre Magdalena because they are repetitions of those given in chapter 13 of the first book of the The Ascent of Mount Carmel, we include here only those sayings that editors have considered trustworthy.


O my God and my delight, for your love I have also desired to give my soul to composing these sayings of light and love concerning you. Since, although I can express them in words, I do not have the works and virtues they imply (which is what pleases you, O my Lord, more than the words and wisdom they contain), may others, perhaps stirred by them, go forward in your service and love — in which I am wanting. I will thereby find consolation, that these sayings be an occasion for your finding in others the things that I lack. Lord, you love discretion, you love light, you love love; these three you love above the other operations of the soul. Hence these will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, of light for the way, and of love in the wayfaring. May there be nothing of worldly rhetoric in them or the long-winded and dry eloquence of weak and artificial human wisdom, which never pleases you. Let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love that do indeed please you, removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error — poor souls who think they are right in what concerns the following of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, imitating his life, actions, and virtues, and the form of his nakedness and purity of spirit. Father of mercies, come to our aid, for without you, Lord, we can do nothing.
1. The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more.
2. O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you?
3. Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit.
4. It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience.
5. Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens.
6. A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time.
7. The virtuous soul that is alone and without a master is like a lone burning coal; it will grow colder rather than hotter.
8. Those who fall alone remain alone in their fall, and they value their soul little since they entrust it to themselves alone.
9. If you do not fear falling alone, do you presume that you will rise up alone? Consider how much more can be accomplished by two together than by one alone.
10. Whoever falls while heavily laden will find it difficult to rise under the burden.
11. The blind person who falls will not be able to get up alone; the blind person who does get up alone will go off on the wrong road.
12. God desires the smallest degree of purity of conscience in you more than all the works you can perform.
13. God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.
14. God values in you the inclination to dryness and suffering for love of him more than all the consolations, spiritual visions, and meditations you could possibly have.
15. Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for. For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?

The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel
& The B’nai-Amen
Mt. Carmel History & Legend

In the middle of the second Millennium B.C., the geographical lists at the Amin-Ra Temple at Karnak, the governing seat of Egyptian pharaohs, called this Carmel mount of the Essenes: “The sacred promontory”.

Iamblichus, a Syrian Philosopher of the 4th century B.C., wrote that Carmel was “the most holy of all mountains and forbidden of access to many.”

The Roman historian Tacitus, around A.D.100, reported that Vespasian, while leading the war against the Jews some forty years previous, had offered sacrifices on Elijah’s open-air Altar at Carmel and there upon received an oracle indicating that he would become the next Roman emperor, which was fulfilled.

Tradition locates the Altar of Elijah on the rocky plateau of el-Muhraqa on the southeast flank of the range. Excavations on Mount Carmel in 1958 uncovered what is accepted as Elijah’s altar, the cave where he lived, the fountain of Elijah, and the remains of an ancient monastery.”

Tradition also holds that the prophet Elijah had a vision of the future mother of Yeshua, and for this reason early Christian’s greatly honored him and Mount Carmel, taking pilgrimages there to honor both Elijah and the Virgin. There is even a Catholic Monastic Order, the Carmelites, who claim unbroken succession back to these ancient times.

Crusaders on a pilgrimage to Mount Carmel in 1150 A.D. found a small monastery there housing Byzantine priests, who said that when their predecessors first arrived they had found the site occupied by a community of Jewish Christians who were conducting a house of studies. They had claimed to be the spiritual heirs of a Jewish monastic Order which had lived and studied there since before the birth of Yeshua. These early Christians had told the Byzantines that the settlement could trace its history back to the days of Elijah and his School of the Prophets.

Some of these crusaders stayed on at Carmel, and eventually sent a constitution to Rome for approval in 1226 A.D. It is said that the pope was going to reject it until the Virgin Mary appeared to him and instructed him to approve it. Eventually the Vatican allowed a statue of Elijah to be placed in its wall, with a plaque identifying him as the founder of the Carmelite Order.

Prefixed to this 1281 Carmelite Constitution was this statement: “From the times when the prophet Elias (Elijah) and Eliseus dwelt devoutly on Mount Carmel, holy fathers both of the old and new Testament….lived praiseworthy lives in holy penitence by the fountain of Elias in a holy succession uninterruptedly maintained.”

There is some evidence to suggest that this constitution may have been written as far back as the fourth century A.D. In it members are required to live alone in separate cells or caves, to meet daily for mass, to recite psalms together at special Daily Office prayer hours, to work with their hands, observe poverty, perpetual abstinence and long silences, and be obedient to the Prior.

The Catholic Carmelite Order continued to grow in medieval Europe, eventually relaxing its rules against long silences, allowed departure from a vegetarian diet three times a week, allowed city living which lessened daily prayer and meditation schedules, and the wearing of foot wear other than sandals.

Two Carmelite mystics, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, reformed a portion of the Catholic Carmelite Order, restoring many of the former disciplines such as strict vegetarianism. This reformation became an independent Religious Order in 1593, being known as the Discalced Carmelites. They reoccupied the ancient site on Mount Carmel, and in 1853 finished their present Monastery there, which now houses an international school of philosophy for the Discalced Carmelite Order.

The mystical writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross represent a complete theology. Their spiritual program is a practical and workable method for reconnecting to the spiritual sources associated with Mount Carmel and the Essene tradition. They are of great value to modern Essenes attempting to understand the mystical dimensions of their spiritual path.

Edgar Cayce Cayce Readings On Mt. Carmel
St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle 1
St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle 2
St. John of the Cross’s Counsels To A Monastic On How To Reach Perfection
St. John of the Cross’s An Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation
St. John of the Cross’s Ascent of Mount Carmel – Part 1
St. John of the Cross’s Ascent of Mount Carmel – Part 2
St. John of the Cross’s Ascent of Mount Carmel – Part 3
St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul
St. John of the Cross’s Precautions
St. John of the Cross’s Sayings
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
Copyright © 1999-2006. All rights reserved.
The Essene Numerology Chart | Ministerial Training Course

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