The Fountain of John of the Cross

The Fountain of John of the Cross December 14, 2020

Many of you may know about the major writing of Saint John of the Cross whose feast day we celebrate today.  As a Secular Carmelite I have decided that for this post I will quote one of his lesser known and shorter works.  You can use it as a reflection much like you would Lectio Divina.  First a bit about him.

He was born on June 24th, 1542 in  Fontiveros, Spain.
He died on December 14th, 1591 in Úbeda, Spain.

Along with St Teresa of Avila he founded the Discalced Carmelites.
He went to the University of Salamanca.

His parents were Gonzalo de Yepes (Father) and Catalina Álvarez (Mother).

His siblings were Francisco de Yepes Álvarez (Brother) and Luis de Yepes Álvarez (Brother).

He is a Doctor of the Church
His writings are deep and symbolic for those are not familiar with his works.

The poem I chose for this reflection is as follows:

The Fountain
John of the Cross

English version by Willis Barnstone

How well I know that flowing spring
in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen.
How well I know where she has been
in black of night.

I do not know her origin.
None. Yet in her all things begin
in black of night.

I know that nothing is so fair
and earth and firmament drink there
in black of night.

I know that none can wade inside
to find her bright bottomless tide
in black of night.

Her shining never has a blur;
I know that all light comes from her
in black of night.

I know her streams converge and swell
and nourish people, skies and hell
in black of night.

The stream whose birth is in this source
I know has a gigantic force
in black of night.

The stream from but these two proceeds
yet neither one, I know, precedes
in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen
in living bread that gives us being
in black of night.

She calls on all mankind to start
to drink her water, though in dark,
for black is night.

O living fountain that I crave,
in bread of life I see her flame
in black of night.

 My Reflection:

First I think of the Dark Night, as written about by Saint John of the Cross.  The feeling of being far from God where really He lets us feel that way even though we are so close.  God is taking care of us even if it does not feel like it.  We are all the more closer to Him when we are suffering and thus things seem dark.

Near the end of this poem I think of the Eucharist, and of receiving the Body, Blood Soul, and Divinity in the forms of bread and wine.  God loves us always.  We need to love Him too.  We should always offer up our suffering but also find pleasure in waiting, pining for Him who died for us and wants us to be with Him in heaven forever.

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