St. John of the Cross

November 24

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints

St. John of the Cross
St. John of the Cross

The father of St. John was discarded by his kindred for marrying a poor orphan, and the Saint, thus born and nurtured in poverty, chose it also for his portion. Unable to learn a trade, he became the servant of the poor in the hospital of Medina, while still pursuing his sacred studies. In 1563, being then twenty-one, he humbly offered himself as a lay-brother to the Carmelite friars, who, however, knowing his talents, had him ordained priest. He would now have exchanged to the severe Carthusian Order, had not St. Teresa, with the instinct of a Saint, persuaded him to remain and help her in the reform of his own Order. Thus he became the first prior of the Barefooted Carmelites. His reform, though approved by the general, was rejected by the elder friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and apostate, and cast him into prison, whence he only escaped, after nine months’ suffering, at the risk of his life. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced. But his complete abandonment by creatures only deepened bis interior peace and devout longing for heaven.


“Live in the world,” said St. John, “as if God and your soul only were in it; so shall your heart be never made captive by any earthly thing.”

Character Calendar

From bitter experience St. John learned what it meant to be misunderstood by those of one’s own household. He was an ardent coworker of the great St. Teresa. Christ once asked him what reward he would have for so much work; whereto he replied: “Lord, that I may suffer and be disesteemed for Thy sake.” — Matins, Sixth Lesson

The Imitation of Christ
I have received, from Thy hand, the Cross; I will bear it, and bear it even unto death, as Thou hast laid it upon me. Truly the life of a good religious is a cross but it is also the guide to paradise.
When you do some kindness for another and mean to make that other person very happy by surprising him with your little act of attention, when that person so helped interprets your action as “interfering in his affairs” — what is your reaction?
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.