A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christby John of the Cross
John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of
Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D. (Spanish: San Juan de la Cruz; 1542 - 14 December 1591) was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest who was born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.
John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He is also known for his writings. Both his poetry and his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature and one of the peaks of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the thirty-five Doctors of the Church.
History knows St. John of the Cross, Carmelite friar and priest during the Counter- Reformation, not just as an iconic spiritual figure, but also one of Spanish literature. This poem of forty stanzas tells the story of the soul's search for Christ. In it, the soul is portrayed as a bride searching for her bridegroom after having become separated from him. Overall, the poem loosely follows the narrative of Solomon's Song of Songs and can serve as an allegorical reading thereof in light of the Gospel. It is interesting to note that one can even read the poem as an early Spanish translation of Solomon's Song of Songs , as translations of the Bible into the vernacular were forbidden at the time. Even so, this poem is not nor does it claim to be a translation, but rather a literary interpretation.
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