Saint John of the Cross

14th December
Saint John of the Cross
Priest and Doctor of the Church

OC: Feast
OCD: Solemnity

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterwards he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness. Article by Fr John Grennan, OCD

Entrance Antiphon Gal: 6:14
I should boast of nothing but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; through him the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

Opening Prayer
you endowed [our Father] Saint John of the Cross with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross. By following his example may we come to the eternal vision of your glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The three readings are used where today is celebrated as a Solemnity. Elsewhere a choice may be made between the first and second reading.

A reading from the prophet Isaiah - 43: 1-3a, 4-5
Do not be afraid for I am with you.

Thus says the Lord,
who created you, Jacob,
who formed you, Israel:
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you;
or through rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched
and the flames will not burn yo
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your saviour.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
because you are honoured and I love you,
I give men in exchange for you,
peoples in return for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and gather you from the west.

Responsorial Psalm - Ps. 138: 1b-3, 5-6, 7-10, 11-12 (R. 12b)
R/. The night is as clear as the day.

Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you. R/.

Behind and before you besiege me,
your hand ever laid upon me. 
Too wonderful for me, this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach. R/.

where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there. R/.

If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea's furthest end,
even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast. R/.

If I say: 'Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night,'
even darkness is not dark for you 
and the night is as clear as the day. R/. 

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans - 8:14-17, 26-27
The Spirit himself expresses our plea.

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a child of God. The spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again; it is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, 'Abba, Father!' The Spirit himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing his sufferings so as to share his glory. I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us.

We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose especially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.

Gospel Acclamation - John 8:12
Alleluia, Alleluia!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John - 17:11, 17-26
For their sake I consecrate myself.

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
'Holy Father,
keep those you have given me true to your name,
so that they may be one like us.
Consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.
As you sent mento the world,
I have sent them into the world,
and for their sake I consecrate myself
so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me, and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realise that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.
I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see my glory
you have given me
because you loved me
before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known
that you have sent me.
I have made your name know o them
and will continue to make it known,
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.

Prayer over the Gifts
Almighty Lord,
look upon the gifts we offer in memory of [our Father] Saint John of the Cross. May we imitate the love we proclaim
as we celebrate the mystery of the suffering and death of Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever.

Preface I: The Father Has Given Us All Things In Christ 

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we honour Saint John of the Cross
through your beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through Christ, your eternal Word, 
you made all things,
and you clothed them with his beauty and goodness
He is the fullness of revelation and grace;
in him you have placed all Wisdom within our reach,
and in him you make us
possessors of all heaven and earth.
In the mystery of his death and resurrection
he has reconciled mankind to you,
restoring us to your friendship
and reuniting all creation with you, its Maker.
And now he reigns in everlasting glory 
among his saints
as head and bridegroom of his Church.

With their great company and all the angels
we praise your glory as we cry out with one voice:
Holy, holy, holy...

Alternative Preface: St John Of The Cross As Our Guide To Union With God

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.

Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we honour St John of the Cross.

His life and teaching set before us anew
the mystery of Christ's Cross and victory.
He has taught us
to make up what is wanting in Christ's passion,
and to share and proclaim
the joy of his resurrection.
Inwardly strengthened by 
the living flame of your Spirit,
he ascended in darkness the heights of divine union
as he sang canticles of your love,
the Church's greatest treasure.

In our joy we sing to your glory
with all the choirs of angels:
Holy, holy, holy...

Communion Antiphon - Mt 16:24
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must renounce himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord God,
you have shown us the mystery of the cross in the life of [our Father] Saint John of the Cross. May this sacrifice make us strong, keep us faithful to Christ, and help us to work in the Church for the salvation of all mankind. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Solemn Blessing or Prayer over the People

Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.

God guided [our Father] Saint John of the Cross
through the dark night of sense and spirit.
May he light your path with the gift of faith.
R/. Amen

God enabled him to press forward unimpeded
to the summit of perfection.
May he purify you with the gift of hope.
R/. Amen

God kindled in his heart
the living flame of love.
May he perfect you with the gift of charity.
R/. Amen

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
R/. Amen.