Rock-Solid Orthodox Christianity

John of the Cross

16th Century, Spain: John of the Cross was involved in Reformation. He was imprisoned by some from his own brethren. Nine months in very small cell - six feet by ten feet - with a small high window. He was beaten three times a week. In that dark, cold cell John received revelation from God - spiritual poems - that would be central to his life's work. After 9 months, he escaped by unscrewing the lock on his door, sneaking past the guard and letting himself down through a window by a rope made from strips of a blanket.

For born-again Christians, these spiritual truths are not merely concepts or metaphors. They are directly experienced. Similarly, Psalm 23 is also experienced by those who truly know Him, and can only be truly understood if you have a deep inward walk with Jesus Christ living in the Presence of God. Faith, as it is often taught today especially in Word-Faith circles, is often merely a confidence in the Scriptures; not a living faith that should be central in the life of every Christian.

Three Spiritual Poems illustrate the elements of True Living Faith:
(ponder on how this compares to the faith as taught today)

Death of self - the 'I' becomes less frequent

Dark Night of the Soul
(Songs of the soul delighted at having reached the high state of perfection, the union with God, by way of spiritual negation.)

On a darkened night,
Anxious, by love inflamed,
-- O happy chance! --
Unnoticed, I took flight,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

Safe, disguised by the night,
By the secret ladder I took flight,
-- O happy chance! --
Cloaked by darkness, I scaled the height,
My house at last at peace and quiet.

On that blessed night,
In secret, and seen by none,
None in sight,
I saw with no other guide or light,
But the one burning in my heart bright.

This guide, this light,
Brighter than the midday sun,
Led me to the waiting One
I knew so well -- my delight!
To a place with none in sight.

O night! O guide!
O night more loving than the dawn!
O night that joined
The lover with the Beloved;
Transformed, the lover into the Beloved drawn!

Upon my flowered breast,
For him alone kept fair,
There he slept
There I caressed,
There the cedars gave us air.

I drank the turret's cool air
Spreading playfully his hair.
And his hand, so serene,
Cut my throat.
Drained of senses, I dropped unaware.


Dark Night of the Soul- dryness - absence of Presence of God - always a season of growth for the Christian - when self is being dealt with by the Holy Spirit.

As one is brought into a deeper union with Jesus and grows to a place where self dies, even the darkness has illumination.

Remember: There are Stages of Spiritual Growth:

Babyhood
Childhood
Manhood

Lost to myself and yet remaining,
Inclined so only the Beloved I spy.
All has ceased, all rests,
Even my cares, even I;
Lost among the lilies, there I die.

Living Flame of Love

(Songs that the soul sings in her intimate union with God, her beloved Bridegroom.)


O Love's living flame,
Tenderly you wound
My soul's deepest centre!
Since you no longer evade me,
Will you, please, at last conclude:
Rend the veil of this sweet encounter!

O cautery so tender!
O pampered wound!
O soft hand! O touch so delicately strange,
Tasting of eternal life
And canceling all debts!
Killing, death into life you change!

O lamps of fiery lure,
In whose shining transparence
The deep cavern of the senses,
Blind and obscure,
Warmth and light, with strange flares,
Gives with the lover's caresses!

How tame and loving
Your memory rises in my breast,
Where secretly only you live,
And in your fragrant breathing,
Full of goodness and grace,
How delicately in love you make me feel!

Song of the Soul that Delights in Knowing God by Faith


Well I know the fountain that runs and flows,
though it is night!

This eternal fountain is hidden deep.
Well I know where it has its spring,
Though it is night!

In this life's dark night,
Faith has taught where this cold fountain lies,
Though it is night!

Its origin I cannot know, it has none,
And I know all origins come from it,
Though it is night!

And I know there can be nothing more fair,
The heavens and earth drink there,
Though it is night!

And I know it has no bed,
And I know no one can cross its depths,
Though it is night!

Its clarity is never clouded,
And I know all light shines from it,
Though it is night!

I know her streams swell so abundantly,
They water people, heaven and even hell,
Though it is night!

The current born of this fountain
I know to be wide and mighty,
Though it is night!

And from these two another stream flows,
And I know neither comes before,
Though it is night!

I know Three in only one water live,
And each the other feeds,
Though it is night!

This eternal fountain is hiding from sight
Within this living bread to give us life,
Though it is night!

He calls all creatures to this light,
And of this water they drink, though in the dark,
Though it is night!

This living fountain I desire,
I see it here within this living bread,
Though it is night!