I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

John of the Cross, (San Juan de la Cruz) (June 24, 1542– December 14, 1591), was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest, born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.

John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-five Doctors of the Church.

THE DARK NIGHT
St. John of the Cross

In the delicious night,
In privacy, where no one saw me,
Nor did I see one thing,
I had no light or guide
But the fire that burned inside my chest.

That fire showed me
The way more clearly than the blaze of the moon
To where, waiting for me,
Was the One I knew so well.
In that place where no one ever is.

Oh night, sweet guider,
Oh night more marvelous than the dawn!
Oh night which joins
The lover and beloved
So that the lover and beloved change bodies!

In my chest full of flowers,
Flowering wholly and only for Him,
There He remained sleeping;
I cared for Him there,
And he fan of the high cedars cooled Him.

The wind played with
His hair, and that wind from the high
Towers struck me on the neck
With its sober hand;
Sight, taste, touch, hearing stopped.

I stood still. I forgot who I was,
My face leaning against Him,
Everything stopped, abandoned me,
My worldliness was gone, forgotten
Among the white lilies.

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FOR I KNOW
St. John of the Cross

For I know well the spring that flows and runs,
although it is night.

1. That eternal spring is hidden,
for I know well where it has its rise,
although it is night.

2. I do not know its origin, nor has it one,
but I know that every origin has come from it,
although it is night.

3. I know that nothing else is so beautiful,
and that the heavens and the earth drink there,
although it is night.

4. I know well that it is bottomless
and no one is able to cross it,
although it is night.

5. Its clarity is never darkened,
and I know that every light has come from it,
although it is night.

6. I know that its streams are so brimming
they water the lands of hell, the heavens, and earth,
although it is night.

7. I know well the stream that flows from this spring
is mighty in compass and power,
although it is night.

8. I know the stream proceeding from these two, 
that neither of them in fact precedes it,
although it is night. 

9. This eternal spring is hidden
in this living bread for our life’s sake,
although it is night.

10. It is here calling out to creatures;
and they satisfy their thirst, although in darkness,
because it is night.

11. This living spring that I long for,
I see in this bread of life,
although it is night.