Advent Calendar 2008

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Day Eighteen : 14th December

14th December

Isaiah 45
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
beside me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,

6 so that they may know; from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord and there is no other.

7 I form light and create darkness,
I make weal and create woe;
I the Lord do all these things.

8 Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the skies rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation may spring up also;
I the Lord have created it.

Today we remember St John of the Cross, mystic and teacher, who died in 1591
Chris appended this quote from St John to his Pentecost 2 sermon last year:

The fire of contemplative love

"Let's look at this loving knowledge and divine light like fire. Fire transforms wood into fire. When fire touches wood, the first thing it does is that it begins to dry the wood out. It drives away moisture, causing the wood to shed the tears it has held inside itself. Then the wood blackens, turning dark and ugly; it may even give off a bad odour. Little by little, the fire dessicates the wood, bringing out and driving away all those dark and unsavoury accidents that are contrary to the nature of fire. Finally, heating up and enkindling the wood from the outside, the fire transforms the wood into itself rendering the wood as beautiful as the fire is.

The wood is left without any interests or activities of its own. What it has is its weight, which is heavier, and its quantity, which is denser, than the fire. Now the wood has inside itself the properties of fire and it performs the work of fire. It is dry and it dries. It is hot and it heats. It is bright and it illumines. It is much lighter than before. Fire creates all these properties and yields all these effects. This is how it is with the divine flame of contemplative love. … Fire transforms wood by incorporating it into itself only by first preparing it for transformation."

St John of the Cross (16th century Spanish Christian mystic), Dark Night of the Spirit Ch.10 (tr. Miribai Starr)