Novena to Saint John of the Cross
Beginning Prayer to be said each day:
O glorious St. John of the Cross, through a pure desire of being like Jesus crucified, you longed for nothing so eagerly as to suffer, to be despised, and to be made little of by all; and your thirst after sufferings was so burning that your noble heart rejoiced in the midst of the cruelest torments and afflictions.
Grant, I beseech you, O dear Saint, by the glory which your many sufferings have gained for you, to intercede for me and obtain from God for me a love of suffering, together with strength and grace to bear with firmness of mind all the trials and adversities which are the sure means to the happy attainment of all that awaits me in heaven.
Dear Saint, from your most happy place in glory, hear, I beseech you, my prayers, so that after your example, full of love for the cross I may deserve to be your companion in glory. Amen.
Ninth Day: Holy Abandonment
O my loving father St. John of the Cross, to imitate more perfectly our Lord, you generously renounced every consolation, even the spiritual; prayed to suffer and to be despised for God’s sake; and finally died suffering, happy to be condemned by men.
Obtain for me the grace of abandonment to the Will of God that, placing all my joy and my hope in the passion of my Savior, I may at last rest eternally with you in His glory. Obtain for me also the special grace I ask through your intercession during this novena, if it be for the glory of God and for my salvation (make request).
Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys
. . .
Graham M. Schweig on The Crucifix Drawing of John of the Cross (read the whole thing here)
If we are to complete our interpretation of this drawing, we must turn to St. John’s works. In St. John’s prose and poetry, the interpretation of the crucifixion drawing is powerfully aided specifically by several stanzas from the seventh of his “Romances.” In the following lines, Christ is speaking to the Father:
I will go and tell the world,
spreading the word
of your beauty and sweetness
and of your sovereignty.
I will go seek my bride
and take upon myself
her weariness and labors
in which she suffers so;
and that she may have life
I will die for her
and lifting her out of that deep,
I will restore her to you.
The essential message of St. John’s drawing of the crucifix is revealed by these verses. As these verses plainly express, Christ (the Bridegroom) wants to relieve the soul (the bride) of her suffering by taking it upon himself, and in doing so, restores the soul to the Father.
Thus, this small drawing reveals St. John’s specific relationship with the deity. St. John, through his artistic work, powerfully conveys the experience of his relationship with God to the viewer, thus allowing the interpreter direct access to his experience: the viewer of this work is truly the bride, who is looking on from above at the tortured Bridegroom. Compelled in the direction of the light source, the viewer is restored to the Father. The drawing, even more than these revealing verses, conveys the absolute suffering and sacrifice of Christ, expressing his intensity of love for the bride. While the bride experiences feelings of grief and separation, she also possesses a sense of hope because of the element of light that conveys the presence of the Father to whom the bride is restored.
St. John’s work, though small and simple, is a complete expression unto itself. And yet, as we saw, the compositional elements of form and light established a complex relationship between Christ, the viewer, and the presence of God. Indeed, certain responses are clearly evoked by the work, whether or not the viewer is familiar with St. John’s writings, because it stands today as powerful imagery of divine love. The work commands our attention, as it ultimately reveals the crucifix as an expression of the intense love that the Bride groom has for the bride as she enters the inner life of God.