On St. John of the Cross and his imprisonment?


#1

Some of my (liberal) classmates will be doing a presentation on one of St. John of the Cross’s poems tomorrow, specifically The Dark Night, and they are of course supposed to give a little bit of biographical background. Now, in the anthology that we were given there is a mini-intro that speaks about his being imprisoned because of a “violent jurisdictional dispute within the religious order”, and I would like to be prepared in case any misunderstandings or anti-Catholic myths pop up, so I was wondering if anyone could direct me to some good (orthodox!) accounts of this incident.

Some links or information regarding his mystical writings would be highly appreciated, as well.

Thank you very much in advance.


#2

Hi–St. John was “imprisoned” twice by ther Calced Carmelites during the years 1575-6 (winter) and 1577-8. Actually he was kidnapped as he was confessor for a rival order --the Discalced Carmelites (Teresa of Avila). The dispute was over the proper "rule"and not Catholic doctrine. He was beatified in 1675 and declared Doctor of the Church Universal in 1926 for his outstanding theology.–nicolo


#3

[quote=Cradle]Some links or information regarding his mystical writings would be highly appreciated, as well.
[/quote]

You cannot really “'research” his writings. You must experience them, or they make very little sense.

Such is the mystic.

FWIW, I honestly cannot comprehend Dark Night. But others can (and I know such people).


#4

[quote=nico1089]Hi–St. John was “imprisoned” twice by ther Calced Carmelites during the years 1575-6 (winter) and 1577-8. Actually he was kidnapped as he was confessor for a rival order --the Discalced Carmelites (Teresa of Avila). The dispute was over the proper "rule"and not Catholic doctrine. He was beatified in 1675 and declared Doctor of the Church Universal in 1926 for his outstanding theology.–nicolo
[/quote]

From my talks with the Carmelites the order did not split until some time after the deaths of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila. During their lives all that was going on was a reform of the order.

The intent of this reform was not to start a new order.


#5

Cradle,

Sorry I didn’t see this thread in time to assist you before today’s presentations. How did they go? What kind of class are you taking and in what kind of school. From the sounds of it, you’re in a secular program. How great that they’re studying St. John!

Regarding Byz’s post -

Actually, the split occurred during the lives of St. Teresa and St. John, although creating a new order was not the original intent of either. However, it was recognized that the discord her return to the Old Rule was creating needed to be resolved, and this required splitting into a new and distinct order, known as the Discalced (without shoes) Carmelites. The O’ Carm did not want the threat of needing to obey a more stringent rule hanging over their heads. What’s interesting is that after the reform and split, the O’ Carm did a reform of their own and many of the abuses that were occuring at the time of St. John and St. Teresa were resolved.
However, the Charism of St. Teresa and St. John reside with the Discalced Carmelites, as opposed to the O’ Carm. But both orders come from the same root, with strong ties to Mt. Carmel, Elijah and Mary.

CARose


#6

[quote=ByzCath]The intent of this reform was not to start a new order.
[/quote]

Seems like something I have heard of before…maybe around 1517.

dxu


#7

[quote=CARose]Regarding Byz’s post -

Actually, the split occurred during the lives of St. Teresa and St. John, although creating a new order was not the original intent of either. However, it was recognized that the discord her return to the Old Rule was creating needed to be resolved, and this required splitting into a new and distinct order, known as the Discalced (without shoes) Carmelites. The O’ Carm did not want the threat of needing to obey a more stringent rule hanging over their heads. What’s interesting is that after the reform and split, the O’ Carm did a reform of their own and many of the abuses that were occuring at the time of St. John and St. Teresa were resolved.
However, the Charism of St. Teresa and St. John reside with the Discalced Carmelites, as opposed to the O’ Carm. But both orders come from the same root, with strong ties to Mt. Carmel, Elijah and Mary.

[/quote]

There may have been a split of sorts but from the History I have been told the Order did not split into the two different Orders until sometime later.

I also know many who would disagree with you that the only thing the O’ Carm. were worried about was having to follow a more stringent rule.

Also, the Charisms of St Teresa dn St John reside in the O’ Carm as well. After all, they were Carmelites.


#8

[quote=ByzCath]There may have been a split of sorts but from the History I have been told the Order did not split into the two different Orders until sometime later.
[/quote]

Discalced Carmelites were canonically recognized just before St. Teresa died. She predecesed St. John by a number of years.

[quote=ByzCath]I also know many who would disagree with you that the only thing the O’ Carm. were worried about was having to follow a more stringent rule.
[/quote]

You may be right about this, I stated it as I was told, but I may have been misinformed on this.

[quote=ByzCath]Also, the Charisms of St Teresa dn St John reside in the O’ Carm as well. After all, they were Carmelites.
[/quote]

Actually, the Charisms of St. Teresa and St. John are unique to them and those who follow them in the Discalced Order. This is a matter held to strongly by the Discalced (although frequently disputed by O’Carm).

With Love in Christ and our common roots of Elijah, Mary and Mt. Carmel,

CARose


#9

[quote=CARose]Discalced Carmelites were canonically recognized just before St. Teresa died. She predecesed St. John by a number of years.

You may be right about this, I stated it as I was told, but I may have been misinformed on this.

Actually, the Charisms of St. Teresa and St. John are unique to them and those who follow them in the Discalced Order. This is a matter held to strongly by the Discalced (although frequently disputed by O’Carm).

With Love in Christ and our common roots of Elijah, Mary and Mt. Carmel,

CARose
[/quote]

With comments such as these it is no wonder that the general superiors of the two orders did not actually meet face to face until just a short time ago.

St Teresa died in 1582.
St John died in 1591.

The Discalced Carmelites where not a fully separate order until 1593 when they had their own general superior. It was not until 1600 that they were large enough to split into two provinces, Spain and Italy.

Now I will let this thread get back on to its topic.


#10

ST John of the Cross wrote a number of poems , some while in captivity, and after expounded on his poems (Dark Night, Siritual Canticle) for use of the followers of St. Teresa and others inclined to “recollection”. He wrote his theology with the utmost clarity, it has been called the surest method of union with God in this life.The Dark night was expounded also in his work “Ascent of Mt. Carmel”. Exposition was in two parts. The first part deals with cleaning the soul and body of all attatchments to this earthly life. The second part destroys attatchments of the soul to “spiritual consolations”. He said most souls never advanced this far.
Lots of the problems with the disagreement between orders and arrests stem from lack of communication between them and the hierarchy. Of course, figure that the communication was slow, letters were not always delivered. We are looking at people that were sometimes separated by large distances over rough insecure terrain.
St. John of the Cross joined Teresa’s reform in 1567 as a confessor.In 1572 he went to Avila as confessor and stayed til 1577. Hewas kidnapped by the Calced and held in Toledo. Although there was not an “official” split, the Calced and Discalced kept separate rules with Teresa’s Discalced being more primitive and strict. This info comes from the EA Peers translation of “Dark night of the soul” , Image books 1959.–nicolo


#11

[quote=DavidFilmer]You cannot really “'research” his writings. You must experience them, or they make very little sense.

Such is the mystic.

FWIW, I honestly cannot comprehend Dark Night. But others can (and I know such people).
[/quote]

I picked up a poetry book in a used book store a few years ago. It was a book of Spanish poems with English translations. I read through a lot of it with no effect. When I got to the Dark Night I really felt there was something there. I did not understand it, but it had an effect on me. I was going through RCIA at the time.

About three years ago I bought the Complete Works of St. John of the Cross. Though I do not fully comprehend it I feel I have gained a lot of spititual insight from reading it and praying on it. It has been (and still is) a long term reading project. I think I have read 200-300 pages of it. Sometimes I feel I have experienced some of the warnings and pointers St. John of the Cross talks about. As far as being on the road to the dark night, I realize I am at the beginning!

I do wonder and have wondered if there is a way to bring this spirituality to the lay person. I know that some people imply that practicing NFP somehow transcends towards this spirituality (i.e., Theology of the Body, etc.), but I do not see how measuring basal body temperatures and graphing them does this! I know that JPII was a big fan of St. John of the Cross, and I suspect it touched a lot of his theology.

Here Christopher Ferrera quotes Father Stephen Torraco of EWTN:

In addition to this blessing, the daily charting called for by natural fertility care holds up a tremendous spiritual benefit in what I call the mysticism of charting, a complement to Pope John Paul II’s new way of handing on the Gospel of Life, namely his theology of the body.

…[font=Times New Roman]In a nutshell, the mysticism of charting is the mystical experience of being temples of the Holy Spirit, of being caught up in the nuptial encounter between Christ, the New Adam, and Mary, the Second Eve. As practitioners of natural fertility care can testify, the mysticism of charting is a powerful means of evangelization.[/font]
[font=Times New Roman][/font]
[font=Times New Roman][/font]
[font=Times New Roman]Hmmmm…[/font]

Sorry if I took this thread too far off topic!

[font=Times New Roman][/font]
[font=Times New Roman]Mark Wyatt[/font]
[font=Times New Roman]www.veritas-catholic.blogspot.com[/font]


#12

Hi Mark, St. John wrote for us all, cleric and layman alike. You cannot expect to experience any results from it on your own --only God can do it and in his way. There are things you can do to open yourself to God for this. A sincere desire, a confessor experenced in recollection and ascetic disipline are a few that come to mind. Eventually it will become your whole life, and you need to consider at some point how much you are willing to sacrifice of the world. That is not to say don’t begin, as seeking recollection will always make one closer to God.
If you haven’t read “The Cloud of Unknowing” I would suggest it. It is basically the same theology as St. John’s (via the negative) and in an easier to read format. St. John, in his attempt to clarify and his ideas against every possible misinterpetation made his writings overly verbose. Being in Spain during the Inquisition made one especially careful of how to express ideas.LOL!–nicolo


#13

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