Sunday, March 23, 2014

St. John of the Cross on Loving What You Don't Know

It should be known that the teaching of some about the will's inability to love what the intellect does not first know ought to be understood naturally. Naturally, it is impossible to love without first understanding what is loved, but, supernaturally, God can easily infuse and increase love without the infusion or increase of particular knowledge.

This is the experience of many spiritual persons; they frequently feel they are burning in love of God, with no more particular knowledge than before. They understand little but love a great deal, or understand a great deal but love little. As a matter of fact those spiritual persons whose understanding of God is not very advanced usually make progress according to their wills, while infused faith suffices for their knowledge. By means of this faith God infuses charity in them and augments this charity and its act, which means greater love, although, as we said, their knowledge is not increased. Thus the will can drink love without the intellect again drinking knowledge [....]


Source: St. John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle, in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh and O. Rodriguez (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1991), 26.8, 576-577.

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