26 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross entered my life and my heart in a time of intense pain and darkness. I was going through my own dark night of the soul (and I wasn’t aware of it) when a friend of mine, out of the blue, emailed me a link with St. John’s book, Dark Night of the Soul.

St. John of the Cross

He didn’t say a word, he only emailed me the book. And even though I didn’t really know what the dark night of the soul was really all about, as I started reading this powerful book, I began to realize that I was going through a dark night of the soul.

St. John of the Cross’s book saved me and it saved my life. And because I want as many people as possible to experience the power of his words and teachings, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite lessons learned from this wise and holy being.

26 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from St. John of the Cross

1. Be mindful of the company you keep

“It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience.” ~ St. John of the Cross

2. Faith and love are your guides

“Faith and love will lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.” ~ St. John of the Cross

3. The blind soul mistakes darkness for light, and light for darkness

“For the soul that is blind considers falsehood to be falsehood no longer, evil not to be evil, because it puts darkness for light, and light for darkness, and falls into endless disorders.”

4. Where there is no love, put love — and you will find love. ~ St. John of the Cross

“Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you, for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love.” ~ John of the Cross

5. To love is to be transformed into what we love

To love is to be transformed into what we love. To love God is, therefore, to be transformed into God. ~ St. John of the Cross

6. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever

“Strive to preserve your heart in peace and let no event of this world disturb it. Reflect that all must come to an end.” ~ St John of the Cross

7. In tribulation immediately draw near to God. ~ St. John of the Cross

“In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.” ~ St. John of the Cross

8. Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he’s traveling on, then he must close his eyes and travel in the dark.” ~ St. John of the Cross 

“Simple faith is necessary in seeking God. In outward things, light helps to prevent one from falling; but in the things of God just the opposite is true: it is better for the soul not to see if it is to be more secure.”

9. Conquering the tongue is better than fasting on bread and water. ~ St. John of the Cross

“Never listen to talk about the faults of others, and if someone complains of another, you can tell him humbly to say nothing of it to you.” ~ St John of the Cross

“Speak little and do not meddle in matters about which you are not asked”. ~ St. John of the Cross

10. Let go of all attachments

“If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.” – St. John of the Cross

“The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for, until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.” ~ St. John of the Cross

11. If you want to be given everything, give everything up

“ To reach satisfaction in all, desire satisfaction in nothing. To come to possess all, desire the possession of nothing. To arrive at being all, desire to be nothing. To come to the knowledge of all, desire the knowledge of nothing. To come to enjoy what you have not, you must go by a way in which you enjoy not. To come to the possession you have not, you must go by a way in which you possess not. To come to what you are not, you must go by a way in which you are not.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“Whoever knows how to die in all will have life in all.

12. To be full of God is to be empty of things

“His axiom is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with God, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthly dross before it is fit to become united with God.” ~ St. John of the Cross

13. When you become Everything, you want Nothing

“Now that I no longer desire all, I have it all without desire… Having nothing and possessing all things.” ~ St. John of the Cross

14. God works in the soul in secret and in darkness 

“God has to work in the soul in secret and in darkness because if we fully knew what was happening, and what Mystery, transformation, God and Grace will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of his wisdom and his spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare his treasures more.” ~ St. John of the Cross

15. Anyone who is lukewarm in his work is close to falling. ~ St John of the Cross

16. Never give up prayer. ~ St. John of the Cross

“Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.” ~ St John of the Cross 

“Whoever flees prayer flees all that is good.” ~ St John of the Cross

“He who interrupts the course of his spiritual exercises and prayer is like a man who allows a bird to escape from his hand; he can hardly catch it again.” ~ St John of the Cross

17. Seek in reading and you will find in meditation

“Seek in reading and you will find in meditation; knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation.” ~ St. John of the Cross

18. Contemplation is a peaceful and loving infusion of God

“Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the spirit of love.” ~ St. John of the Cross

19. There are three signs of inner recollection

“There are three signs of inner recollection: first, a lack of satisfaction in passing things; second, a liking for solitude and silence and an attentiveness to all that is more perfect; third, the considerations, meditations, and acts which formerly helped the soul now hinder it, and it brings to prayer no other support than faith, hope, and love.” ~ St John of the Cross

20. Faith is a dark night of the Soul

“Faith is a dark night for man, but in this very way it gives him light.” ~ St. John of the Cross

21. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent

“It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” ~ St. John of the Cross

22. Silence is the language of God

“What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetites and our tongue, for the language He best hears is silent love.” ~ St. John of the Cross

23. God leads every soul by a separate path. ~ St. John of the Cross

24. Live as though only God and yourself were in this world

“Live in the world as if only God and your soul were in it; then your heart will never be made captive by any earthly thing.” ~ St. John of the Cross

25. There is nothing better or more necessary than love. ~ St. John of the Cross

“The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired.” ~ St. John of the Cross

26. To Know God is to give up all ideas about God

“When a soul has advanced so far on the spiritual road as to be lost to all the natural methods of communing with God; when it seeks Him no longer by meditation, images, impressions, nor by any other created ways, or representations of sense, but only by rising above them all, in the joyful communion with Him by faith and love, then it may be said to have found God of a truth, because it has truly lost itself as to all that is not God, and also as to its own self.” ~ St. John of the Cross

BONUS: St. John of the Cross Quotes

“Never take a man for your example in the tasks you have to perform, however holy he may be, for the devil will set his imperfection before you. But imitate Christ, who is supremely perfect and supremely holy, and you will never err.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“More is gained in one hour from God’s good things than in a whole lifetime from our own.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“Do not let your “eye” be drawn by the false “beacon lamps” – of wealth, or position, or fame, or possessions. Be vigilant over your will and desires, for these are the corrupt forces that dwell within, and keep you from living free.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“Be silent concerning what God may have given you and recall that saying of the bride: My secret for myself. [Is. 24:16]” ~ St. John of the Cross

“He who loves is not ashamed before men of what he does for God, neither does he hide it through shame though the whole world should condemn it.” ~ St. John of the Cross

“In the dark night of the soul, bright flows the river of God” ~ St. John of the Cross

“Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for. For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?” ~ St. John of the Cross

~ Love, Luminita💫

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Luminita D. Saviuc

Luminita, the Founder of PurposeFairy, is an enthusiastic student of the arts, psychology, and spirituality. Her acclaimed blog post, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy , was shared by over 1.3 million people on Facebook. Later on, it became the heart of her book, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy., book that was published by Penguin Random House. For more details check out the 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy Book Page.

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