Sayings of Light and Love #5
Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide (spiritual director) will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor (caregiver and protector). No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens.
Note: The notes in the parentheses above are translation helps for the reader. St. John wrote these sayings of light and love individually, but they often follow themes. This saying and a number of others that follow are on the topic of spiritual direction. Essentially, St. John indicates that without a spiritual director for protection and guidance, any potential fruit that the pilgrim might bear will be plundered before it even has a chance to emerge.
Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D. (1542-1591), a Spanish priest and Doctor of the Church, considered to be the Doctor of Mystical Theology, was a reformer of the Carmelite Order, along with Saint Teresa of Avila (Saint Teresa of Jesus), who founded the Discalced Carmelites. He is known as the Doctor of Mystical Theology and is known for his writings (especially his poetry), including: The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Counsels to a Religious, Dark Night of the Soul, Living Flame of Love, Precautions (Cautions), Spiritual Canticle, Spiritual Maxims: Words of Light, Points of Love and Other Counsels. He was beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X and canonized in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, after consultation with Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. He is buried in the Monastery of the Carmelitas Descalzas (Convent of the Discalced Nuns), in Segovia, Spain.