A Gloss (with spiritual meaning)

John of the Cross

A gloss (with spiritual meaning).
Without support yet with support,
living without light, in darkness,
I am wholly being consumed. 1. My soul is disentangled
from every created thing
and lifted above itself
in a life of gladness
supported only in God.
So now it can be said
that I most value this:
My soul now sees itself
without support yet with support.

2. And though I suffer darknesses
in this mortal life,
that is not so hard a thing;
for even if I have no light
I have the life of heaven.
For the blinder love is
the more it gives such life,
holding the soul surrendered,
living without light in darkness.

3. After I have known it
love works so in me
that whether things go well or badly
love turns them to one sweetness
transforming the soul in itself.
And so in its delighting flame
which I am feeling within me,
swiftly, with nothing spared,
I am wholly being consumed.
A gloss (with a spiritual meaning).
Not for all of beauty
will I ever lose myself,
but for I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly gained.

1. Delight in the world’s good things
at the very most
can only tire the appetite
and spoil the palate;
and so, not for all of sweetness
will I ever lose myself,
but for I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

2. The generous heart
never delays with easy things
but eagerly goes on
to things more difficult.
Nothing satisfies it,
and its faith ascends so high
that it tastes I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

3. He who is sick with love,
whom God himself has touched,
finds his tastes so changed
that they fall away
like a fevered man’s
who loathes any food he sees
and desires I-don’t know-what
which is so gladly found.

4. Do not wonder
that the taste should be left like this,
for the cause of this sickness
differs from all others;
and so he is withdrawn
from all creatures,
and tastes I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

5. For when once the will
is touched by God himself,
it cannot find contentment
except in the Divinity;
but since his Beauty is open
to faith alone, the will
tastes him in I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

6. Tell me, then, would you pity
a person so in love,
who takes no delight
in all creation;
alone, mind empty of form and figure,
finding no support or foothold,
he tastes there I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

7. Do not think that he who lives
the so-precious inner life
finds joy and gladness
in the sweetness of the earth;
but there beyond all beauty
and what is and will be and was,
he tastes I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.

8. Whoever seeks to advance
takes much more care
in what he has yet to gain
than in what he has already gained;
and so I will always tend
toward greater heights;
beyond all things, to I-don’t-know- what
which is so gladly found.

9. I will never lose myself
for that which the senses
can take in here,
nor for all the mind can hold,
no matter how lofty,
nor for grace or beauty,
but only for I-don’t-know-what
which is so gladly found.
Christmas Refrain
The Virgin, weighed
with the Word of God,
comes down the road:
if only you’ll shelter her. The Sum of Perfection
Forgetfulness of created things,
remembrance of the Creator,
attention turned toward inward things,
and loving the Beloved.




Last updated June 26, 2015