The 16th Day of Advent / John of the Cross, Poet, Teacher of the Faith, 1591.
The four last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell. But first, death.
Isaiah 38. 1-8, 21-22
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’ Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord: ‘Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city.
‘This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: See, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.’ So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.
Now Isaiah had said, ‘Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.’ Hezekiah also had said, ‘What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?’
O Magnum Mysterium: O great mystery and wonderful sacrament!
O God, the judge of all,
who gave your servant John of the Cross
a warmth of nature, a strength of purpose
and a mystical faith
that sustained him even in the darkness:
shed your light on all who love you
and grant them union of body and soul
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.