Many people complain about Vatican II for many reasons. I, personally, have one big beef with the council which is that as a result of something or other they changed the calendar and they took away my Saint! Until I was 15 the feast of St. John of the Cross was on my birthday. I thought that this was great because Janet is a diminutive of John, so he was obviously supposed to be my patron saint. I can't say that I had a great devotion to him, or even knew much about him except that he had something to do with St. Theresa of Avila, but, still, he was my Saint. I'm not sure how long it took for me to notice that a change had been made, but I think I finally found out one day when I was at daily Mass and they were celebrating St. John's feast day on December 14. NO! How could this be? Well, there you have it. It is. So, while I usually follow the new calendar, on my birthday I follow the old and I'll celebrate today, too.
I still don't know a whole lot more about John of the Cross, except that his brother Carmelites didn't appreciate his reforming spirit and imprisoned him in a dark 6'x10' cell and beat him in public. St. John drew the picture above after he had a vision of the crucified Christ, and Wikipedia tells me that this was the inspiration for Salvador Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross. (I also found the details about his imprisonment there.)
I've read a bit of St. John's poetry and have always planned to read more, but somehow never have. This is a quote of his found in this morning's Office of Readings.
Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.