A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom of Christby St. John of the Cross
Saint John of the Cross was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered, along with Saint Teresa of
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John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz) (24 June 1542 – 14 December 1591), born Juan de Yepes Alvarez, was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest, born at Fontiveros, Old Castile.
Saint 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 and is one of the 33 Doctors of the Church. When his feast day was inserted into the General Roman Calendar in 1738, it was assigned at first to 24 November, since his date of death was impeded by the then existing octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This obstacle was removed in 1955 and in 1969 his feast day was moved to his date of death, December 14.
Although his complete poems add up to fewer than 2500 verses, two of them—the Spiritual Canticle and Dark Night of the Soul are widely considered to be among the best poems ever written in Spanish, both for their formal stylistic point of view and their rich symbolism and imagery. The Spiritual Canticle is an eclogue in which the bride (representing the soul) searches for the bridegroom (representing Jesus Christ), and is anxious at having lost him; both are filled with joy upon reuniting. It can be seen as a free-form Spanish version of the Song of Songs at a time when translations of the Bible into the vernacular were forbidden.
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