Sunday, August 2, 2009

Living Flame of Love

My friends at Greensboro Daily Photo requested a photo of the stained glass window that was seen from the outside in an earlier post. This window is an artist rendition of St. John of the Cross' classic spiritual poem "The Living Flame of Love".

In the Living Flame of Love St. John of the Cross is putting into words the state of the soul that has reached the state of transformation which is the highest state attainable on earth, it is equivalent to what he frequently calls the spiritual marriage.

The Living Flame of Love
St. John of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite
Stanzas the Soul Recites in Intimate Union With God

O living flame of love
That tenderly wounds my soul
In its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
Now consummate! if it be your will
Tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
That tastes of eternal life
And pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
The deep caverns of feeling,
Once obscure and blind,
Now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
Both warmth and light to their Beloved.

How gently and lovingly
You wake in my heart,
Where in secret you dwell alone;
And in your sweet breathing,
Filled with good and glory,
How tenderly You swell my heart with love.

The relflection of the Living Flame window on the marble floor