It was in prison that St. John of the Cross composed in his head and on scraps of paper the great poem “The Spiritual Canticle”, to which he later wrote a commentary.
Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our own good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love.
In these remarkable few sentences John communicates his strong faith in the overriding providence of God in all the events of life – even those that seem to be a personal setback or a setback for the kingdom. He also gives practical advice on how to deal with situations that seem “imperfect,” motivated by something other than love: When God the Father didn’t find love in the human race, in the Incarnation of His Son. Then, He found love, in His Son Jesus and in all who had become a part of His Body. John counsels us to do the same. When we don’t find love in a situation, we can put love in the situation, and then we will find it!