John, Spiritual Canticle 38


None saw it;
Neither did Aminadab appear
The siege was intermitted,
And the cavalry dismounted
At the sight of the waters.

1 THE bride perceiving that the desire of her will is now detachedfrom all things, cleaving unto God with most fervent love; thatthe sensual part of the soul, with all its powers, faculties, anddesires, is now conformed to the spirit; that all rebellion isquelled for ever; that Satan is overcome and driven far away inthe varied contest of the spiritual struggle; that her soul isunited and transformed in the rich abundance of the heavenly gifts;and that she herself is now prepared, strong and apparelled,'leaning upon her Beloved,' to go up 'by the desert' (326) ofdeath; full of joy to the glorious throne of her espousals,--sheis longing for the end, and puts before the eyes of herBridegroom, in order to influence Him the more, all that ismentioned in the present stanza, these five considerations:

2. The first is that the soul is detached from all things and astranger to them. The second is that the devil is overcome and putto flight. The third is that the passions are subdued, and thenatural desires mortified. The fourth and the fifth are that thesensual and lower nature of the soul is changed and purified, andso conformed to the spiritual, as not only not to hinder spiritualblessings, but is, on the contrary, prepared for them, for it iseven a partaker already, according to its capacity, of those whichhave been bestowed upon it.

'None saw it.'

3. That is, my soul is so detached, so denuded, so lonely, soestranged from all created things, in heaven and earth; it hasbecome so recollected in Thee, that nothing whatever can comewithin sight of that most intimate joy which I have in Thee. Thatis, there is nothing whatever that can cause me pleasure with itssweetness, or disgust with its vileness; for my soul is so farremoved from all such things, absorbed in such profound delight inThee, that nothing can behold me. This is not all, for:

'Neither did Aminadab appear.'

4. Aminadab, in the Holy Writings, signifies the devil; that isthe enemy of the soul, in a spiritual sense, who is ever fightingagainst it, and disturbing it with his innumerable artillery, thatit may not enter into the fortress and secret place of interiorrecollection with the Bridegroom. There, the soul is so protected,so strong, so triumphant in virtue which it then practises, sodefended by God's right hand, that the devil not only dares notapproach it, but runs away from it in great fear, and does notventure to appear. The practice of virtue, and the state ofperfection to which the soul has come, is a victory over Satan,and causes him such terror that he cannot present himself beforeit. Thus Aminadab appeared not with any right to keep the soulaway from the object of its desire.

'The siege was intermitted.'

5. By the siege is meant the passions and desires, which, when notovercome and mortified, surround the soul and fight against it onall sides. Hence the term 'siege' is applied to them. This siegeis 'intermitted'--that is, the passions are subject to reason andthe desires mortified. Under these circumstances the soul entreatsthe Beloved to communicate to it those graces for which it hasprayed, for now the siege is no hindrance. Until the four passionsof the soul are ordered in reason according to God, and until thedesires are mortified and purified, the soul is incapable ofseeing God.

'The cavalry dismounted at the sight of the waters.'

6. The waters are the spiritual joys and blessings which the soulnow enjoys interiorly with God. The cavalry is the bodily sensesof the sensual part, interior as well as exterior, for they carrywith them the phantasms and figures of their objects. Theydismount now at the sight of the waters, because the sensual andlower part of the soul in the state of spiritual marriage ispurified, and in a certain way spiritualised, so that the soulwith its powers of sense and natural forces becomes so recollectedas to participate and rejoice, in their way, in the spiritualgrandeurs which God communicates to it in the spirit within. Tothis did the Psalmist refer when he said, 'My heart and my fleshhave rejoiced in the living God.' (327)

7. It is to be observed that the cavalry did not dismount to tasteof the waters, but only at the sight of them, because the sensualpart of the soul, with its powers, is incapable of tastingsubstantially and properly the spiritual blessings, not merely inthis life, but also in the life to come. Still, because of acertain overflowing of the spirit, they are sensibly refreshed anddelighted, and this delight attracts them--that is, the senseswith their bodily powers--towards that interior recollection wherethe soul is drinking the waters of the spiritual benedictions.This condition of the senses is rather a dismounting at the sightof the waters than a dismounting for the purpose of seeing ortasting them. The soul says of them that they dismounted, not thatthey went, or did anything else, and the meaning is that in thecommunication of the sensual with the spiritual part of the soul,when the spiritual waters become its drink, the natural operationssubside and merge into spiritual recollection.

8. All these perfections and dispositions of the soul the bridesets forth before her Beloved, the Son of God, longing at the sametime to be translated by Him out of the spiritual marriage, towhich God has been pleased to advance her in the Church militant,to the glorious marriage of the Church triumphant. Whereunto mayHe bring of His mercy all those who call upon the most sweet nameof Jesus, the Bridegroom of faithful souls, to Whom be all honourand glory, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost,




(1) 'Los nombres de Cristo.' Introduction.(2) This exceptionally severe legislation, justified by the dangersof the time, only held good for Spain and the Spanish colonies,and has long since been revised. It did not include the Epistlesand Gospels, Psalms, Passion, and other parts of the daily service.(3) Ann de Lobera, born at Medina del Campo, November 25, 1545, wasa deaf-mute until her eighth year. When she applied for admissionto the Carmelite convent at Avila St. Teresa promised to receiveher not so much as a novice, but as her companion and futuresuccessor; she took the habit August 1, 1570, and made herprofession at Salamanca, October 21 1571. She became the firstprioress of Veas, and was entrusted by St. Teresa with thefoundation of Granada (January 1582), where she found St. John ofthe Cross, who was prior of the convent of The Martyrs (well knownto visitors of the Alhambra although no longer a convent), St.John not only became the director and confessor of the convent ofnuns, but remained the most faithful helper and the staunchestfriend of Mother Ann throughout the heavy trials which marred manyyears of her life. In 1604 she went to Paris, to found the firstconvent of her Order in France, and in 1607 she proceeded toBrussels, where she remained until her death, March 4, 1621, Theheroic nature of her virtues having been acknowledged, she wasdeclared 'Venerable' in 1878, and it is hoped that she will soonbe beatified.(4) See 'Life of St. Teresa': ed. Baker (London, I904), ch. xiv.12, xvi. 2, xviii. 10.(5) 'Manuel Serrano y Sanz,' Apuntos para una Biblioteca deEscritores espa¤oles. (1903, p. 399).(6) Cf. Berthold-Ignace de Sainte Anne, 'Vie de la MŠre Anne deJ‚sui' (Malines, 1876), I. 343 sqq.(7) On this subject see Fray Eulogio de San Jos‚, 'Doctorado deSanta Teresa de Jess y de San Juan de la Cruz.' C¢rdoba, 1896.(8) (This canticle was made by the Saint when he was in the prisonof the Mitigation, in Toledo. It came into the hands of theVenerable Anne of Jesus, at whose request he wrote the followingcommentary on it, and addressed it to her.)(9) Sg 8,1(10) Rm 8,26(11) Jb 14,5(12) Mt 7,14(13) PT 4,18(14) 2S 14,14(15) Mt 5,26(16) So 1,12(17) Mt 20,6(18) Jn 1,18(19) Is 45,15(20) Jb 9,11(21) Qo 9,1(22) Ct 1,6(23) 'Soliloq.,' c. 31. Opp. Ed. Ben. tom. vi. app. p. 98.(24) Lc 17,21(25) 2Co 6,16(26) 'Mt. Carmel,' Bk. 2, c. 5. sect. 3.(27) Mt 13,44(28) Mt 6,6(29) Is 26,20(30) Pr 4,23(31) Is 45,3(32) 1Co 13,10(33) Ex 33,22-23(34) Sect. 4.(35) Sect. 2.(36) Ps 17,12(37) Jn 15,7(38) (39) Ps 16,15(40) Rm 8,23(41) Ct 2,9(42) Ps 72,21-22(43) Ct 3,2 Ct 5,7(44) Ct 5,6-7(45) Tb 12,12(46) Dt 31,21(47) Ex 3,7-8(48) Lc 1,13(49) Ps 9,10(50) Ps 34,3(51) Ps 35,9(52) Dt 30,20(53) Lm 3,19(54) Col 2,3(55) Ap 10,9(56) Dt 32,33(57) Jn 2,3(58) Jn 11,3(59) Lc 11,9(60) Ct 3,1(61) Ct 3,4(62) Sg 6,13(63) Ps 61,11(64) Ps 33,20(65) Ps 53,5(66) Jb 41,24(67) Ep 6,11(68) (69) Rm 8,13(70) Rm 1,20(71) Conf. 10. 6.(72) Ordo commendationis animae.(73) He 1,3(74) Gn 1,31(75) Jn 12,32(76) Ps 144,16(77) Ct 5,8(78) Ct 4,9(79) See 'Living Flame,' stanza 3, line 3, sect. 20.(80) Gn 30,1(81) Jb 6,8-9(82) Ac 17,28(83) Jn 1,3. The Saint adopts an old punctuation, different from the usual one. He reads thus: 'Omnia per Ipsum facta sunt, et sine Ipso factum est nihil: Quod factum est, in Ipso vita eratÕ ('All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made: What was made in Him was life').(84) Jb 7,2-4(85) Jn 20,15(86) Ct 5,6-7(87) Ps 37,11(88) Tb 5,12(89) Ap 21,23(90) Za 2,8(91) Is 65,24(92) Pr 2,4-5(93) See 'Ascent of Mount Carmel,' bk. 2, ch. 5, sect. 3.(94) Ps 83,3(95) Ex 33,12-13(96) Ex 33,20(97) Stan. vii. sect. 10.(98) Supra, sect. 4.(99) 2Co 5,4(100) Ph 1,23(101) (102) 1Jn 4,18(103) Qo 41,3(104) Ps 115,15(105) Ps 33,22(106) Qo 41,1(107) He 1,3(108) Os 2,20(109) Jn 4,14(110) Jn 7,39(111) Ps 67,14(112) Ct 1,10(113) 1Co 13,10(114) (115) Ct 8,6(116) Ps 41,1-2(117) 1 Paral. 11:18(118) Ct 8,6(119) Jb 3,24(120) Ps 96,2-3(121) Ps 17,12-13(122) Ps 138,12(123) See St. Teresa, 'Life,' ch. 20 sect. 16, or 'Las Mordadas,' 6. ch. 11.(124) Sect. 1. supra.(125) Sect. 4. supra.(126) 2Co 12,3(127) See 'Relation' 8.(128) Sect. 1.(129) 1Co 13,2(130) Col 3,14(131) 1Co 13,4-7(132) Gn 8,9(133) Gn 6,21(134) Jn 1,3-4. See Stanza viii.(135) Is 66,12(136) Lc 1,52(137) Ac 2,2(138) Jn 12,29(139) Ps 67,34(140) Ap 14,2(141) Ez 1,24(142) Ct 2,14(143) 1 Kings 19:12(144) 2Co 12,4(145) Jb 42,5(146) Sect. 20.(147) 'De Mystica Theologia,' cap. i.(148) Ct 6,4(149) Jb 4,12-16(150) Is 24,16(151) Stan. xiii. sect. 1.(152) Da 10,16(153) Ps 101,8(154) Ap 14,2(155) Sg 1,7(156) Ap 3,20(157) Stanza xxvi.(158) Ps 33,8(159) Ps 62,2(160) (161) Ct 6,11(162) Ct 2,15(163) Ex 34,30(164) Lc 22,8(165) Ct 1,11(166) Ct 4,16(167) Pr 8,31(168) Ct 6,1-2(169) Ba 3,10-11(170) Jr 2,14-15(171) Sg 9,15(172) 2Co 12,2-4(173) Ex 33,23(174) 2Co 12,4(175) Ct 8,8(176) Ps 68,2(177) Ps 118,131(178) Ps 38,4(179) Stanza xiii sect. 4; xiv sect. 26.(180) Jn 4,14(181) Ct 6,9(182) Pr 15,15(183) Ph 4,7(184) Ct 4,12(185) Ct 3,5(186) Lc 15,5-9(187) Ct 3,11(188) Gn 2,24(189) 1Co 6,17(190) Ct 5,1(191) (192) Ct 8,1(193) Ct 2,11-12(194) Ep 2,15(195) Ct 8,5(196) Ez 16,5-14(197) Ct 2,1(198) Ps 49,11(199) Ct 1,15(200) Pr 8,31(201) Ct 8,1(202) Ct 3,9-10(203) 1Jn 4,18(204) Ct 3,7-8(205) Ct 4,4(206) Ct 1,3(207) Ps 118,32(208) Ct 5,4(209) Ps 38,4(210) Qo 9,15(211) Qo 9,14

(219) Ct 2,4(220) 1Co 3,19(221) Pr 30,1-2(222) 1Co 2,14(223) Ct 6,11(224) Ps 72,21-22(225) Lc 12,37(226) Is 66,12(227) Ct 7,10-12(228) Ps 61,2-3(229) Col 3,14(230) Mt 13,44(231) Jn 15,15(232) Ps 58,10(233) Ct 7,13(234) Lc 10,42(235) Ct 3,5(236) Mt 10,33(237) Mt 6,24(238) Ph 1,21(239) Mt 16,25(240) Ct 6,2(241) 2Co 12,9(242) Ps 44,10(243 Jc 1,17(244) Ct 1,3(245) Ct 3,11(246) Col 3,14(247) Jb 41,6-7(248) Ct 7,1(249) Ct 6,3(250) Ct 2,5(251) Ct 2,1(252) Col 3,14(253) 1 Kings 18:1(254) 'Dark Night,' Bk. 1, ch. 14.(255) Stanza ii. sect. 26 sqq.(256) 1Jn 4,10(257) Ct 4,9(258) Jn 1,16(259) Ez 18,22(260) Na 1,9(261) Qo 5,5(262) Ps 15,4(263) Jn 1,16(264) Ex 33,12-13(265) Is 43,4(266) Ct 1,4(267) Antiphon in Vesper B. M. V.(268) Mt 13,12(269) Mt 25,28(270) Sect. 7.(271) Is 43,3(272) Est 6,11(273) Ct 4,1-3(274) Ct 4,1(275) Ct 2,3(276) Os 2,14(277) Ps 83,4(278) Rm 8,14(279) Tb 14,4(280) Is 58,10-14(281) Jn 17,10(282) St. Augustine, ' De Genesi ad Litt.' iv., xxiv. (andelsewhere) and the scholastics (St. Thomas, 'S. Th.' I. lviii. 7)distinguish between the 'morning knowledge' whereby angels andsaints know created things by seeing the Divine Word, and 'eveningknowledge' where they derive their knowledge from the createdthings themselves.(283) Is 2,3(284) Is 2,2(285) Ct 4,6(286) Ps 67,16(287) Rm 11,33(288) Ps 18,10-12(289) Jb 6,8-10(290) Ep 3,17-19(291) Jn 17,3(292) 1Co 10,4(293) Col 2,3(294) Ex 33,20-23(295) Ct 2,13-14(296) Ct 5,14(297) Ct 8,2(298) 1Co 13,12(299) 'Opusc de Beatitudine,' cap. 2.(300) 1Co 2,9(301) Is 64,4(302) Ap 2,7(303) Ap 2,10(304) Ap 2,17(305) Ap 2,26-28(306) Ap 3,5(307) Ap 3,12(308) Ap 3,21-22(309) Ps 30,20(310) Ps 35,9(311) Ps 20,4(312) Jb 4,2(313) (314) Jn 1,12(315) Jn 17,24(316) Jn 17,20-23(317) (318) Ct 2,10-12(319) Ct 2,13-14(320) Stanza xxxvii. sect. 5.(321) Stanza xxxviii. sect. 6.(322) Ct 2,14(323) Ps 138,11(324) Dt 4,24(325) Sg 9,15(326) Ct 3,6 Ct 8,5(327) Ps 83,3

John, Spiritual Canticle 38