February 16, 2011.
During the general audience, Benedict XVI reflected on St. John of the Cross, a Spanish poet, mystic and reformer of the Carmelite religious family along with Teresa of Avila. The Pope said he serves an example of holiness for all Christians.Benedict XVI“The main works of the saint help us get closer to the aspects he highlights in his vast and profound mystical doctrine, which aims to describe a sure way to achieve holiness, the state of perfection to which God calls us all.”
St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 in the small town of Fontiveros in central Spain. He studied humanities, rhetoric, philosophy and classical languages in addition to becoming a priest in 1567.
He was widely misunderstood by his Carmelite reform and even went to jail for it, this is where he composed his famous “Spiritual Canticle.”
The Pope presented his poems and books as a road map for a spiritual journey to become a saint. Benedict XVI“It is God who is the real center; all man can do is dispose himself and humble himself before the loving work of God in the soul. In this sense, John is for us a model of humble dedication and of faithful perseverance on the road to spiritual maturity.”
Among the nearly 4,000 attendees were pilgrims from Poland, the Czech Republic, Mexico and the United States. During the audience, one group broke out in song, much to the surprise of the Pope and the rest of the onlookers.