In today’s catechesis, we discuss the sixteenth-century Spanish Carmelite mystic, Saint John of the Cross. John was born into a poor family. As a young man he entered the Carmelites and was ordained priest. Soon afterwards, he met Teresa of Avila in what was a decisive encounter for them both, as they discerned plans for reforming the Carmelite Order. He became confessor at Teresa’s monastery, and together they developed a rich articulation of the workings of the Lord upon the soul in the spiritual life.
Faith, however, is the unique means by which we can come to know God as he is in himself. The demanding process of purification, at times active and at others passive, requires our determined effort, but it is God who is the real centre; all man can do is dispose himself and humble himself before the loving work of God in the soul. In this sense, John is for us a model of humble dedication and of faithful perseverance on the road to spiritual maturity.
I extend a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those students from Saint Benedict’s School, Saint Aloysius College, Saint Patrick’s Grammar School, and students and parishioners from the United States. Upon you all, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!”