UNKNOWING Light in the darkness
In his poem “Glosa á lo Divino,” John of the Cross reveals his deep trust in the mystery of “not knowing,” confident that it will lead him into greater intimacy with God. We share with you Mirabai Starr’s translation.
I would not sacrifice my soul for all the beauty of this world.
There is only one thing for which I would risk everything: an I-don’t-know-what that lies hidden in the heart of the Mystery.
The taste of finite pleasure leads nowhere. All it does is exhaust the appetite and ravage the palate. And so, I would not sacrifice my soul for all the sweetness of this world.
But I would risk everything for an I-don’t-know-what that lies hidden in the heart of the Mystery.
The generous heart does not collapse into the easy things, but rises up in adversity. It settles for nothing. Faith lifts it higher and higher.
Such a heart savors an I-don’t-know-what found only in the heart of the Mystery.
The soul that God has touched burns with love-longing. Her tastes have been transfigured. Ordinary pleasures sicken her. She is like a person with a fever; nothing tastes good anymore.
All she wants is an I-don’t-know-what locked in the heart of the Mystery. . . .
I will never lose myself for anything the senses can taste, nor for anything the mind can grasp, no matter how sublime, how delicious. I will not pause for beauty, I will not linger over grace. I am bound for an I-don’t-know-what deep within the heart of the Mystery.
—John of the Cross, Glosa á lo Divino, trans. Mirabai Starr