Profound renunciation

But there is another renunciation which St John of the Cross requires. This is so subtle as to elude anything like an adequate explanation. Yet it is founded on the simple truth that the Infinite and Eternal God bears no proportion to what we imagine, think, or taste of Him. No image of God—not even that sweetness which represents Him to the will—is, after the soul has climbed a certain way, anymore of value, but must be discarded. Here is the second “night,” a midnight compared to gloaming; an emptying no more of the “senses” only, even in their most spiritual value, but of the memory, intellect, and will. To the activity of the soul in this midnight John gives (legitimately since he warns us) the name of faith. Doubtless the senses, even the imagination, even the intellect and will, continue (normally) to operate, but they are unattended to. They may be inhibited by ecstasies, which he rather contemptuously mentions along with: “dislocations of the bones”; and are assuredly left behind by the soul when it has achieved a direct union. But, meanwhile, they must be either unattended to or rejected. “Visions,” even if supernaturally induced, must be acknowledged, and put behind one; not as false, but as inadequate to that kind of contemplation I am called to: exterior or interior, all these apprehensions must be said “No” to! –“Upon God’s Holy Hills” C.C. Martindale

Capuchin Crypt of bones, underneath the church Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini on the Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini in Rome, Italy.


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