“There is nothing better or more necessary than love.”

John of the Cross

Today is the feast day of St. John of the Cross, the Spanish Carmelite to whom the above quote is attributed.  Very often, feast days for canonized saints fall either on their birthday or on the day they entered eternal life.  In the case of St. John of the Cross, he died on this day in 1591.  Born Juan de Yepes y Alvarez, he entered the Carmelite order around the age of twenty.  In September of 1567, he met Teresa of Avila and together they led a major reform for the Carmelites, which lead to increased prayer, study, and fasting throughout the order.

Between 1574 and 1577, John received a vision of the Crucified Christ from which came his famous drawing of Christ below.

John_of_the_Cross_crucifixion_sketch

Throughout his life, St. John of the Cross embraced a spirit of self-denial and love of the Cross of Christ.  Following his death in 1591, he was beatified in 1675 and eventually canonized in 1726.  In 1926, Pope Pius XI declared St. John of the Cross a Doctor of the Church, recognizing the significant contribution of his writing and teaching for the good of the whole Church.

Let us ask St. John of the Cross to pray for us especially in those times when we encounter great difficulty or suffering, that through his prayers a great love of the Cross of Christ would abide in our hearts!

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