Monday, December 13, 2021

The Feast of St John of the Cross, Priest, Mystic and Doctor of the Church.

"The Lord hears the cry of the poor." (Psalm 34).

Tuesday 14th December 2021, in the 3rd Week of Advent is the feast of St John of the Cross.  (1542 - 1591). Born in Spain near Avila, he cooperated with St Teresa of Avila, another Carmelite mystic and Doctor of the Church for the reform of the Carmelite Order.  John was a Priest and Doctor of the Church. Called Doctor of Mystical theology because of the depth of his understanding and writings on mysticism.  He was the author of the classic: "The Dark Night of a Soul."

St John of the Cross endured terrible persecutions from his confreres in his religious community of the Carmelites. They imprisoned him for nine months, flogged him publicly and imposed other forms of maltreatment.

Our key Scripture is from the beautiful Psalm 34.
Do you believe that the "Lord hears the cry of the poor?" The poor are not the people whom the economists tell us live with less than $2 a day. Neither are they the majority of the people in the third world countries. Not prisoners or the homeless. Who then are the poor and where can they be found? The poor are the Anawin of the Scriptures.

According to Sister Joan  Roccasalvo, C.S.J, "The anawim of the Old Testament were the poor of every sort: the vulnerable, the marginalized, and socio-economically oppressed, those of lowly status without earthly power. In fact, they depended totally on God for whatever they owned. The Hebrew word anawim (inwetan) means those who are bowed down."

Our Responsorial Psalm 34 are for people who are poor, who depend entirely on God for their provision and protection. Some widows, orphans and immigrants qualify for the Anawin today. Can you imagine their delight when they hear the message from the Responsorial Psalm 34?

I. "Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him."

II. "When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them."

III. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The Lord redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him."

"Those who think that they can succeed by planning and by calculating and by making use of human means as the world makes use of them, these I cannot use for the upbuilding of My Church. I want the little and the poor, those who have nothing apart from an immense trust in My merciful love; I want them to come to Me and to offer themselves to My Eucharistic Heart for My own designs and purposes." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, April 10, 2008).

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