Ah, gentle hand whose touch is a caress,
foretaste of heaven conveying
and every debt repaying:
killing, you give me life for death’s distress.
For death is nothing other than the privation of life, because when life comes no vestige of death remains.
Let it be known that what the soul calls death is all that goes to make up the old man: the entire engagement of the faculties in the things of the world, and the indulgence of the appetites in the pleasures of creatures. All this is the activity of the old life, which is the death of the new spiritual life. The soul is unable to live in this new life, if the old man does not die completely.
Consequently, the soul is dead to all that it was in itself, which was death to it, and alive to what God is in Himself.
The soul can well repeat the words of St Paul: I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.
- St John of the Cross. The Living Flame of Love.