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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


John of the Cross
Directed by K. C. Lynch
Saint Luke Productions/Ignatius Press 12/01 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) once wrote: "Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love." These radical words were the kind that got him in trouble with the Carmelite Order of his day who found his devotion to God a bit excessive. He was imprisoned for nine months during which he wrote many mystical poems and experienced his "dark night of the soul."

This 60-minute drama directed by K. C. Lynch tells the story of John of the Cross through the eyes of one of his patrons. He emerges from a poverty-stricken childhood and is drawn to the contemplative life. But his deep piety offends many members of his order, including its head. The turning point in his life comes in 1567 when he meets Teresa of Avila, a kindred spirit who is looking for a partner in her Carmelite reform movement. She appoints him prior of the first community of discalced friars. Later, John of the Cross serves as a spiritual director at her convent.

This drama contains a handful of selections from the saint's mystical poems and reveals the great yearning at the heart of his spiritual journey. His soul longed for mystical union with God. His life and suffering provide a commentary on the following truth by Catholic writer Ronald Rolheiser: "What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality."

Purchase: Saint Luke Productions/Ignatius Press 1-800-651-1531 or 1-800-683-2998


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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