Saturday, December 14, 2013

"And let us go forth to behold ourselves in Your beauty [(hermosura)],"

     "This means:  Let us so act that by means of this loving activity we may attain to the vision of ourselves in Your beauty in eternal life.  That is:  That I be so transformed in Your beauty that we may be alike in beauty, and both behold ourselves in Your beauty, possessing now Your very beauty; this, in such a way that each looking at the other may see in the other his own beauty, since both are Your beauty alone, I being absorbed in Your beauty; hence, I shall see You in Your beauty, and You shall see me in Your beauty, and I shall see myself in You in Your beauty, and You will see Yourself in me in Your beauty; that I may resemble You in Your beauty, and You resemble me in Your beauty, and my beauty be Your beauty and Your beauty my beauty; wherefore I shall be You in Your beauty, and You will be me in Your beauty, because Your very beauty will be my beauty; and therefore we shall behold each other in Your beauty."

     St. John of the Cross, The spiritual canticle, Stanza 36.5.  The collected works of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (Washington, DC:  ICS Publications, Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1973), 547.  Cf. Obras de San Juan de la Cruz, ed. Silverio de Santa Teresa, O.C.D., vol. 3, Cantico Espiritual, Biblioteca Mistica Carmelitana 12 (Burgos:  Tipografia de «El Monte Carmelo», 1930),  pp. 399-400.
     I have not yet read The spiritual canticle; rather, I stumbled onto this passage while in pursuit of the selection in the Office of Readings for the Feast of St. John of the Cross.  Astonishing material.  I must make The spiritual canticle a priority, and indeed re-read the other works, too.

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