Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
St John of the Cross
- December 14, 2012
Born Juan de Yepes in Toledo, Spain, he had a difficult childhood. He was poor, and an orphan; and after doing his schooling with the Jesuits, John entered the Carmelite order as a young man.
The Europe of John’s day was one of religious turbulence. Many religious orders were in a state of decline, and the Protestant Reformation had outlawed all monasteries and convents. In Spain, Teresa of Avila had begun her great ‘reform of Carmel’, and John of the Cross joined her in doing the same for male Carmelites, an initiative which brought him much opposition and heartburn, much of it from his own Carmelite friars – at one time, he was even imprisoned in one of their monasteries.
But John persisted. With two other friars, he established the first reformed Carmelite monastery at Duruelo, a place so wretched, that Teresa of Avila called it “the stable at Bethlehem”. Other foundations followed in rapid succession, and for a time Juan was even confessor to Teresa and her nuns at Avila. His friendship with Teresa, his senior by about twenty years, is one of the great friendships of the spiritual life.
“The soul that desires divine wisdom chooses first to enter the thicket of the cross,” wrote John of the Cross. And indeed, John had his share of misunderstandings, hostility and opposition. In fact towards the end of his life, suffered from a cruel inflammation of his leg. And yet, the intensity of his mystical experiences only grew – as we find it in his classic works: The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love, all writingsof great depth and beauty that have guided hundreds of seekers after God .
“Spiritually desire to possess nothing,” said Juan. “Like that, you will possess everything!”