Retreat preparation: An insight into Spiritual Canticle

Tuesday 2nd August 2022

An unmissable programme of retreats is due to begin next month, starting off with a study of John of the Cross’ remarkable Spiritual Canticle.

To help prepare our minds and hearts for the retreat, we’re finding out more about this wonderful work and how it can help deepen our relationship with Christ and the world around us.

What is John of the Cross’ Spiritual Canticle?

John of the Cross’ Spiritual Canticle poetically describes the soul’s longing for God and its constant search for union with Christ. This search is portrayed through the relationship of a bride (the soul) and her search for her bridegroom (Christ), before culminating in their reunion in paradise and everlasting joy.

How will we explore it during the retreat?

We will begin by studying John’s compelling pencil drawing of the crucifixion, which Salvador Dali later based his own famous painting of the crucifixion on. We will then delve into John’s incredible life, including his time in prison and his brave escape – like a scene in a film, he made a rope from ripping up a blanket, jumped down, risking his life – and escaped in the middle of the night!

Through imagery, discussion and prayer, we will then seek to understand his Spiritual Canticle, looking the poem’s spirituality, imagery and language.

In the spirit of his work, there will be an invitation to pray by bringing to mind an image from nature that you find beautiful – imagine God looking it and with God’s image, clothing it in its beauty that you see.

Contemplative questions to be with during quiet reflective time will include:

What do we see in Christ? What is the nature / experience of the heart of the one who loves God? What is let go of?

The retreat will include various approaches, for example visual imagery, silence and music. No prior knowledge is needed, just an openness to the fact that John’s work can be of interest to all Christians whatever stage of faith.

How can I book my place?

All are welcome to take part in our first retreat in the newly-created space at Our Lady of Lourdes and St Gerard Majella RC Church, Lostock Hall, Preston.

The retreat costs £20. Please register an initial interest by Monday 29th August 2022 by calling the parish office on 01772 335387 or emailing Please include your name and contact details.

Click here to find out more about other sessions in our retreats programme.

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