This is the first year in my Catholicism that I’ve noticed how many saints are remembered this time of year, in Advent. What a powerful time to reflect and prepare for the coming of our Savior with the stories of all these saints. Today we celebrate Saint John the Cross (June 1542 – 14 December 1591). He was a major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar and priest. He is famous for having written “The Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” “The Dark Night of the Soul,” and “The Spiritual Canticle.” He and St. Teresa of Avila reformed the Carmelite order at a time when they had moved away from a life of fasting, prayer and penance. The order resented the reforms. At one point even tortured St John and kidnapped him. Painfully, this is when he wrote some of his most profound writings. When he moved beyond earthly interactions and mystically saw how the spirit existed and journeyed, you can imagine how that would have overshadowed any evil earthly events even with the severity of them.