John of St. Samson
The Venerable John of St Samson (1571–1636), also known as Jean du Moulin or Jean de Saint-Samson, was a French Carmelite and mystic of the Catholic Church. A leader of the Touraine Reform of the Carmelite Order, which stressed prayer, silence and solitude, John was blind from the age of three after contracting smallpox and receiving poor medical treatment for the disease. He insisted very strongly on the mystical devotion of the Carmelites. He has been referred to as the "French St. John of the Cross" by students of Christian mysticism.
- Make use of this very simple aspiration: "you and I, my love, you and I, you and I, and never another nor more!" To which you could add some burning words like: "since you are entirely good and all goodness itself; since you are entirely glorious and all glory itself; since you are entirely holy and all holiness itself!"
- As quoted in Traditions of Spiritual Guidance (1987) by Michael Brundell.
The Carmelite Tradition (2011)
- Quotes of John of St. Samson from The Carmelite Tradition (2011) by Stephen Payne, "The Sting, the Flames, the Arrows and the Mirror of the love of God to infatuate the soul with God in God himself"
- Aspiring, therefore, is not merely an affective conversation, a good exercise in itself. … Aspiring is therefore an expression of love: a love so purely and radically expressed that it transcends all loves that are comprehensible by the senses, reason, or the intellect. By the impetuosity and force of the Spirit of God, it arrives at union with God, not by chance but by a sudden transformation of the spirit in God. In this, I say, the Holy Spirit goes beyond all the love that can be understood and comprehended in the abundant ineffable sweetness of God Himself, in Whom it is amorously immersed.
- This love is so overpowering that the will alone enters the amorous bosom of love, where it savors an unutterable love beyond all understanding and expression. All the while, the dumbfounded intellect remains paralyzed at the gate.
- Such is the effect of love's flood rushing into its lovers. It sweeps them away, ravishes them, and swamps them in its waves. These people become love itself — its spirit, its divinity — insofar as it is possible for any creature in this life.
- Nothing is past, present or future, or even eternal; all is present in this deliriously wonderful sea. When one returns to and in himself, he sees and feels himself to be less than the tiniest jot.
- Thereupon one reanimates his flight but not for himself. Instead, he moves in God, desiring to be engulfed in his infinite expanse, in order to continue his own life in his infinite life. Thus, the action of this love is so supernatural and so divine in God that it becomes both the means and the end.
- The sight of the intuitive and ravishing Beauty of God holds her as if asleep in its delectable bosom. This state surpasses all human definition and comparison.
- After this life we look forward too our full and consummated beatific pleasure in the immensity of His totality, in the infinite expanse of HIs amorous furnace, aglow with His infinite fire.
- This path is so delightful and delectable that anyone who knows it will lovingly travel it at his own cost and expense. Such happiness is beyond words.
- Love does not need academic research to flash the abundant simple flames of its heart with endless ardor...With no other hope it desires to lose itself deeper and deeper in the Beloved.
Quotes about John of St Samson
- John of Saint Samson insists very strongly on the mystical vocation of Carmelites. The active life should not have first place. Recalling that the rule demands a life of prayer; he chooses this prayer — "to be lost in the object of contemplation, God and the things of God." No doubt it is necessary to preach, study and work, but because of the dangers which exterior activity brings, it is necessary for young scholastics to exercise themselves intensely in the principal object of their vocation and establish themselves solidly in the practice of meditation and contemplation. Contemplation is still a pure gift of God; but it is important that we for our part remove all the obstacles and practice the virtues so that we may be found disposed in the way which God demands before giving his mystical favors. In this doctrine, human activity enjoys a considerable part; in its higher degrees, contemplation remains an absolutely gratuitous gift. Thus equilibrium is maintained between the school of acquired contemplation and that of infused contemplation. John is careful to note that perfection does not consist in ecstatic phenomena but in union with God who lives in us. This fire, which burns in us, sets us aflame, and the flame of our love is united to Divine Love which en flames our heart. It is necessary that Carmelites understand this vocation and prepare for it. As a means of arriving at the dispositions required by God, John counsels a form of prayer which the Francis can Henry Herp especially honored, namely, aspiration. It has four degrees: inhaling God, exhaling God, living in God, living by God. Entirely filled with God, we must hunger and thirst for God without ceasing and open our mouth to breathe God. We should start by offering ourselves and every creature to God.
- Blessed Titus Brandsma in lectures of 1936, as quoted in "The Spirituality of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance".