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St. John of the Cross

Confessor, Doctor of the Church

November 24

John of the Cross was born of devout parents at Fontiveros in Spain. In his earliest years it became known how dear he would be to the Virgin Mother of God; for, when he was five years old, he fell into a well and, lifted out by Her hand, escaped unharmed.

As a young man he made himself a most loving servant to the sick poor in the hospital of Medina del Campo. Then he entered the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel and, ordained priest out of obedience, professed the primitive rule. Burning with zeal to promote the stricter discipline, he was given by God as a companion to St. Teresa – who considered him among the purest and best souls in the Church of God at that time – to restore the primitive Carmelite observance among the brethren.

When he had labored earnestly at this task and suffered many things, he was asked by Christ what reward he would ask for so many toils, and he answered, “Lord, to suffer and be despised for You.” He wrote books of mystical theology, full of heavenly wisdom. At length, having most patiently endured a severe illness, he fell asleep in the Lord at Ubeda in 1591, in the forty-ninth year of his age. Pius XI, on the advice of the sacred Congregation of Rites, declared him a Doctor of the universal Church.

Taken from The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin, Vol. III: August to Advent (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1963), pp. 1839-1840.

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Epistle and Gospel for November 24