SJC21 – Parting Advice: Loss of Self for the Greater Love – St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation with Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Podcast
In this series Fr. Donald Haggerty and Kris McGregor discuss the depths of prayer as explored by St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor of the Church.
An excerpt from St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation
The last counsel regarding solitude is not directed simply to physical solitude in a monastery. The desire of Saint John of the Cross is to see the soul detached and empty, no longer dependent for security or any other interest upon the outside world. “You should deem everything in the world as finished. . . . Pay no heed to the things out in the world, for God has already withdrawn and released you from them. . . . It is very fitting for you to desire to see no one and that no one see you” (CR 7, 8).
Naturally, duties may require dealings with the world, but the religious man should remain focused on a task, not seeking to entertain himself by contact with the outside world. An inner solitude must be cultivated that remains separated from indulgence in unnecessary interests of curiosity. Saint John of the Cross urges the Carmelite Brother to take care with his thoughts so that a solitary fixation on God may be uninterrupted as much as possible. “This is very necessary for inner solitude, which demands that the soul dismiss any thought that is not directed to God” (CR 9). This last counsel is too much for most of us surely in our circumstances of distraction and busy occupations. But let us not be too dismissive. A forgetfulness of worldly concerns has the reward of bringing a soul mysteriously into the proximity with God in the midst of common occupations. We can assume that Saint John of the Cross was speaking from his own experience, as evidently he did on every page of his works.
Haggerty, Donald. Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation (pp. 357-358). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
You find the book on which this series is based here