Sublime poet, ecstatic exemplar, attentive guide—these are only three of the roles attributed to St. John of the Cross. Many consider the writings of this Carmelite priest to represent the pinnacle of Spanish poetry.
Even centuries after his death, he remains a masterful model of spiritual attainment. And for anyone seeking to undertake a personal quest for God, he remains unsurpassed as a spiritual guide, for he is the Christian mystic par excellence, teaching a complete spiritual system for living as a means of attaining union with God.
Pope John Paul II found John’s teachings about faith to be so vitally relevant and important that as a young priest he wrote his doctoral dissertation in theology on the subject. Later, when as pope he celebrated the fourth centenary of John’s death, John Paul extolled the ability of faith to re-evangelize believers and increasingly open them to Christ’s teachings and light.
On that occasion, John Paul expressed John’s central message in this way: “living faith … is the guide of the Christian, his only light in the dark nights of trial, an ardent flame fed by the Spirit.”