Feast of St John of the Cross
The 16th century gave us some very important Doctors of the Church, St John and Teresa of Avila being two of them. St John and St Teresa were both Carmelites and mystics who worked for the reform of their order and in fact they went on to begin a new branch of the Carmelites, the Discalced Carmelites.
In the Office of Readings for the feast we have a writing from St John in which he tells us that if we are to progress in the spiritual life we must be willing to embrace a life of suffering. Basically what he is saying is that if we want to grow spiritually we must be willing to undertake ascetic practices such as fasting and long periods of prayer. We must choose to suffer for God.
John of the Cross is still one of the most widely read writers in the church. His three great works, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Living Flame, and The Spiritual Canticle all began life as poems but were later added to and built upon until they became the works that they are today.
The outstanding holiness, austerity of life, poetic genius and charity of St John remain to this day as a shining light from the 16th century. He is recognized as one of the great poets of the Spanish language.