“The knowledge of the mystery hidden within Christ Jesus” – St. John of the Cross from the Office of Readings

From a Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross, priestSaintly Masters of Prayer - writings, teachings, biographies 3

The knowledge of the mystery hidden within Christ Jesus

Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.

We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.

For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labours, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.

All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.

Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.

Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth – to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God.

The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

SD5 Understanding the Dark Night of St. John of the Cross – Spiritual Desolation: Be Aware, Understand, Take Action with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher Episode 5 – Fr. Gallagher helps us to understand the Dark Night as described by St. John of the Cross and how it differs from the experience of Spiritual Desolation.  He also addresses the Dark Night metaphor and how it is used to describe some spiritual experiences that are not necessarily the same in meaning as that set forth by St. John of the Cross and how that can be confusing for some.

From  Setting the Captives Free: Personal Reflections on Ignatian Discernment of Spirits

The dark night, therefore, is an experience of infused contemplative prayer felt as painful because it is purifying; it prepares the person for greater union with God through higher states of infused contemplation. The difference between this purifying experience of prayer and the discouraging lies of spiritual desolation is evident.6 The first is a gift of God; the second is a trap of the enemy. By accepting the first, we grow; by rejecting the second, we grow.


You can find this book here

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by St. John of the Cross – A special introduction by Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor

Dr. Anthony Lilles joins Kris McGregor to give a brief introduction to the spiritual classic “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” by St. John of the Cross.  We hope this will be a helpful support to those who are choosing to enter into this rich spiritual work.

Saintly Masters of Prayer - writings, teachings, biographies 3



For the complete pdf text of the “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” by St. John of the Cross

For other audio chapters found on Discerning Hearts visit “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” visit here

The Stanzas and Prolouge – The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by St. John of the Cross – Mp3 audio & Text Podcast

Saintly Masters of Prayer - writings, teachings, biographies 3

The Stanzas and Prologue – “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” by St. John of the Cross

translated by David Lewis
read by Ed Humpal



The following stanzas are a summary of the doctrine contained in this book of the Ascent of Mount Carmel.  They also describe how we are to ascend to the summit of it, that is, to the high state of perfection, called here union of the soul with God. I place all the stanzas together because that which I have to say is founded upon them. Thus the whole substance of my book may be comprehended at once. I shall also transcribe each stanza again, and each line separately, as the nature of my work requires.


In a dark night,
With anxious love inflamed,
O, happy lot I
Forth unobserved I went,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and in safety,
By the secret ladder, disguised,
O, happy lot!
In darkness and concealment.
My house being now at rest.

In that happy night,
In secret, seen of none,
Seeing nought myself,
Without other light or guide
Save that which in my heart was burning.

That light guided me
More surely than the noonday sun
To the place where
He was waiting for me.
Whom I knew well,
And where none appeared.

O, guiding night ;
O, night more lovely than the dawn ;
O, night that hast united The lover with His beloved,
And changed her into her love

On my flowery bosom,
Kept whole for Him alone,
There He reposed and slept ;
And I caressed Him, and the waving
Of the cedars fanned Him.

As His hair floated in the breeze
That blew from the turret,
He struck me on the neck
With His gentle hand,
And all sensation left me.

I continued in oblivion lost,
My head was resting on my love;
Lost to all things and myself,
And, amid the lilies forgotten,
Threw all my cares away.





IP#150 Vivian Dudro – Jose Luis Olaizola’s “Fire of Love” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro

What a delight to be joined once again by Vivian Dudro to discuss the work of Spanish novelist Jose Luis Olaizola and his book “Fire of Love: A Historical Novel on the Life St. John of the Cross”!  Olaizola is an award-winning Spanish writer, who is known for his acclaimed works on great historical figures such as El Cid, Hernan Cortes, Bartolome de las Casas, and Patricio Escobar.  In this book, he richly offers the life of the great Spanish mystical doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross.

Jose Luis Olaizola
Jose Luis Olaizola


You can find the book here

This historical novel paints a striking portrait of one of the most revered saints in history, in a landscape that makes the life and times of John of the Cross relevant to our own age. Here is an extraordinary adventure that explores the thorny challenges that every soul must face: avoiding the trappings of this world that lead to darkness, and embracing the radiance of the fire of Divine Love. Having performed the life of this great saint as an actor, I found Jose Luis Olaizola’s portrayal very true to the passion and dramatic intensity of this great mystic. Fire of Love rekindled in me the fire ignited by Saint John of the Cross in his poetic plea, ‘Love Him intensely, as He deserves to be loved.’ May all who read this literary work examine their own souls profoundly, in order to have the greatest of all adventures – finding God Himself. —Leonardo Defilippis, Film Actor & Director, John of the Cross

Talk 4 on St. John of the Cross “In the Footsteps of St. Teresa of Avila” – w/ Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts


In this conversation, we discuss the significance of St. John of the Cross and his relationship with St. Teresa of Avila. 

St. John of the Cross – Living Flame of Love, My Soul is a Candle – Discerning Hearts

The Living Flame Of Love

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire! in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.


Here is a fine teaching from Fr. Barron:


My Soul is a Candle

My soul is a candle that burned away the veil;
only the glorious duties of light I now have.
The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.
I am a holy confessor for men.
When I see their tears running across their cheeks
and falling into
His hands,what can I say to their great sorrow
that I too haveknown.
The soul is a candle that will burn away the darkness,
only the glorious duties of love we will have.
The sufferings I knew initiated me into God.
only His glorious cares
I now have.