The following is a reflection on St. John of the Cross’ “Sayings of Light and Love” number 64 in light of the spiritual doctrine of ongoing conversion and how it relates to the notions of Quaerere Deum, Conversatio Morum, and Habitare Secum.
Saying number 64 reads, “See that you are not suddenly saddened by the adversities of this world, for you do not know the good they bring, being ordained in the judgements of God for the everlasting joy of the elect.”
This saying brings forth the notion of Quaerere Deum, “to seek God”, in that, it requires one to not rely on feelings that may overcome us when we are confronted by the truly evil things of this world, but solely on rationally ordered and disciplined desire to seek God and rest in Him, knowing that all things are ordered to the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
The saying brings forth the notion of Conversatio Morum, Conversion of Life, in that, when there is an ever-deepening relationship with God, it leads to a change in the whole manner of the way one lives life, there is a better scrutiny in the truths about God, and therefore, a deeper understanding of how it can even be possible for God to bring good out of adversity. In our own understanding, we would never be able to fathom any good could come out of pain, it seems antithetical to human reason, but through rigorous meditation and contemplation of the truths of God and His Divine Revelation, we are given the grace to see beyond our mere human understanding.
The saying brings forth the notion of Habitare Secum (Living with/in oneself), in that, only when we are able to face our own evil ways and allow God to inform our consciences, are we able to be understand that we are the cause of the evil in the world. When we are able to dwell with our true selves, then we can see ourselves and others in the light of what we deserve, which is nothing good, then we are able, even in the face of evil, to praise Him for the gifts He gives us. We are especially able to see from the perspective of the one and only Good, which is God himself, and know that nothing in this world can separate us from His love or our telos, ‘raison d’être’, which is Union with Him. Entering the sanctuary where God speaks to us, we are able to dwell also with Him and remain at peace. Nothing can then disturb that inner peace that comes solely from Him, not even the greatest of calamities. Christ saw to it that the door to eternal life is always available to us, through His Cross. When we take up our own cross and follow Him, we are therefore united to His suffering. If we share in the Cross of Christ, we will also share in His glory in eternity, the everlasting joy of the elect.
In the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts,