Saint John of the Cross: “If you want …”

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If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street pregnant with Light and sing ...

December 14 celebrates contemplative Christian spiritual guide, Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591). The Doctor of Mystical Theology, Saint John of the Cross was a Spanish mystic, Carmelite friar, and priest. His writings include Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, and The Spiritual Canticle.

During the Season of Advent, his poem “If You Want” invites each of us to become a midwife for God

IF YOU WANT

If
you want
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy,
and say,
“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.”

Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ
taking birth
forever,

as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us
is the midwife of God, each of us.

Yet there, under the dome of your being does creation
come into existence eternally, through your womb, dear pilgrim–
the sacred womb in your soul,

as God grasps our arms for help; for each of us is
His beloved servant
never far.

If you want, the Virgin will come walking
down the street pregnant
with Light and sing …

–St. John of the Cross, “If You Want” in Daniel Ladinsky Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (New York: Penguin Group, 2002), 306-307.


How might you provide shelter, becoming a “midwife for God“?

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