For now we see through a glass, darkly . . .
St. John of the Cross, whose feast was yesterday, would be the first to agree. But sometimes the Carmelite mystic’s poetry gives me the impression that he saw, as St. Paul put it, face to face .

There are, for example, these two letrillos, superbly translated by Rhina Espaillot:

Nativity

With God’s Word—the burgeon
that swells in her womb—
now she comes, the Virgin:
if you give her room!

The Sum of Perfection

Forget created things,
but their Creator, never;
the core attend forever;
love Him from whom love springs.

You can find Rhina’s other John of the Cross translations in the First Things archives:

* A Spiritual Canticle of the Soul and the Bridegroom Christ
* I Went In, I Knew Not Where
* Coplas: In Pursuit
* Song of the Soul That Takes Pleasure in Knowing God by Faith
* Songs of the Soul in Intimate Amorous Communion with God
* One Darkest Night
* Verses of the Soul That Pines to See God
* The Youthful Shepherd

Articles by Amanda Shaw

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