Friday, November 29, 2013

St. John of the Cross for Graduates

Students here graduate from school around this time. This was written for all of those who are graduating or moving on.

Very soon now, life will change for you, and it will keep on changing. Those who have been around this world a while longer than you will tell you that everyone gradually finds out that you must keep the important things important. How do you do that? One way to do that is to do something that you have already done for many years, diving deeply and regularly into the well of yourself, and listening closely to the wise words that have lasted through the ages. No one is an island. We are all supported, surrounded, and sustained by people, words, and events that continue to give us life.

Below are some wise words that provide a limitless horizon for personal reflection, where each phrase will gain new meaning as the years pass, and whereby you will be well guided in the years ahead. It’s not easy to come back to this again and again, but it’s good… and important.

By St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)
Desire its possession in nothing,
To come to the knowledge of all
Desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to possess all
Desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all Desire to be nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
You must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
You must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
You must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be what you are not
You must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
You cease to cast yourself upon the all,
For to go from the all to the all
You must possess it without wanting anything.
In this nakedness the spirit finds its rest,
for when it covets nothing
Nothing raises it up and nothing weighs it down,
because it stands in the centre of its humility.