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The Christian Mystic Saint John of the Cross is Born

John de Yepes is born this year to a poor weaver family in Spain. His father will die early in life forcing John into difficult jobs to support the family. John will be educated by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and eventually join with Sister Teresa of Avila to form the Discalced (shoeless) Carmelites. Sister Teresa is a mystic and she recognizes one of her own kind. He will be called John of the Cross, and be sainted in 1726. Sister Teresa will be sainted in 1622. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
For those who felt uncomfortable with a discussion of Jewish mysticism, now you can feel even more uncomfortable with Christian mysticism. I once asked a Catholic priest about Saint John of the Cross. He gave me the fish-eye and replied, "He's crazy." I laughed. What Saint John would do is to empty himself to create a void where God is drawn into. Since I study Kabbalah, this sounds quite familiar as a meditative technique. One creates a pregnant void. I have practiced this technique but there are warnings about doing it alone. If you are good enough to make this happen you are good enough to get lost in it. Best practice is to study meditation as a group. And please, please, please check in with your local clergy. It is easy to mislead yourself when delving into mysticism of any kind.

Why is this a survival topic? Pain management without drugs is one reason. Deep meditation like this can reduce pain to manageable levels but it takes practice.

China vs. Portugal: The Ningbo Massacre *

Official relations with Japanese entities took place at the designated port of Ningbo and after some negotiations (read as bribes) the Portuguese were allowed to land there too. The word "Ningbo" means "serene wave" but it has become anything but serene as the Portuguese set up a colony. This was not in the agreement and the Portuguese are setting fire to the villages and pillaging. With a serious Mongol invasion already in progress, the Ming Dynasty doesn't need another headache. Chinese soldiers march into Ningbo and wipe out the Portuguese. All Portuguese, everywhere in China, are sentenced to death. The Spanish are considered "Portuguese" since all those barbarians look alike. The "red-haired" barbarians (the Dutch) are distinguishable from the Portuguese though. [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
No fooling around. No misunderstanding. The Portuguese were trying to take over China by intimidation and force. It was ugly. One Portuguese commander said, "A Chinese junk man knew more about courtesy and humanity than a European knight." The Chinese were already a little paranoid about foreigners. In the end they will want foreign goods and gold enough to continue trading, but they are not going to be pushed around. The Portuguese will find other people to push around in the Indies.

Lording Over the Irish

To this point the English have been designated as lords of Ireland who manage the lands on behalf of the Pope. Since the Reformation, the Pope has called into question all monarchs who have abandoned the Catholic Church. Naturally, this has caused some question as to how Ireland will be ruled. Through an act of the Parliament of Ireland, King Henry the 8th of England has been named the King of Ireland. That title will be passed on to his son Edward but when Mary succeeds to the throne, the stuff will really hit the fan. Mary is a devout Catholic. [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Mary the 1st of England will succeed to the thrones of Ireland and England in 1553 by collecting an army, marching into London and beheading the previous Queen of England who had ruled all of 9 days. That is not why she will be called "Bloody Mary" though. She will get her reputation by burning 285 Protestants at the stake. Her reign will be a very long 5 years. [9]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1542, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. John of the Cross - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  2. St. John of the Cross - Saints & Angels. Catholic Online (2015). Retrieved on 23 March 2015. “Born in Spain in 1542, John learned the importance of self-sacrificing love from his parents. His father gave up wealth, status, and comfort when he married a weaver's daughter and was disowned by his noble family. After his father died, his mother kept the destitute family together as they wandered homeless in search of work. These were the examples of sacrifice that John followed with his own great love -- God.”
  3. (1910) St. John of the Cross, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “John de Yepes, youngest child of Gonzalo de Yepes and Catherine Alvarez, poor silk weavers of Toledo, knew from his earliest years the hardships of life. The father, originally of a good family but disinherited on account of his marriage below his rank, died in the prime of his youth; the widow, assisted by her eldest son, was scarcely able to provide the bare necessities. John was sent to the poor school at Medina del Campo, whither the family had gone to live, and proved an attentive and diligent pupil; but when apprenticed to an artisan, he seemed incapable of learning anything. Thereupon the governor of the hospital of Medina took him into his service, and for seven years John divided his time between waiting on the poorest of the poor, and frequenting a school established by the Jesuits.” 
  4. (1910) St. Teresa of Jesus (Teresa of Avila), The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “Unable to obtain her father's consent she left his house unknown to him on Nov., 1535, to enter the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila, which then counted 140 nuns. The wrench from her family caused her a pain which she ever afterwards compared to that of death. However, her father at once yielded and Teresa took the habit.” 
  5. Gernet, Jacques (1996). A History of Chinese Civilization, translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles (in English), Cambridge University Press, 447-448. “Like the Malays, the Portuguese traded in pepper between South-East Asia and South China. They soon tried to rob the Javanese and Sumatrans of control of the maritime routes and trade, and made contact with the Japanese in the southern part of their archipelago and at Ning-po.” 
  6. Ningbo massacre (1542) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “After the Portuguese used coercion and bribed their way into obtaining a trade mission in Ningbo, they inflicted savage behaviour against the Chinese. In retaliation, in 1545 the entire Portuguese community of Ningbo were exterminated by Chinese forces.”
  7. Altan Khan - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “Altan Khan used his military strength to threaten Ming Dynasty of China. He led raids into inland China in 1529, 1530 and 1542 returning with plunder and livestock.”
  8. Crown of Ireland Act 1542 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “The secession of various European rulers during the Protestant Reformation, including Henry VIII, inspired the Papacy to initiate the Counter-Reformation. One consequence of this was that the Papacy required all Roman Catholic rulers to consider Protestant rulers (and their loyal subjects) as heretics, thus making their realms illegitimate under customary Roman Catholic international law.”
  9. Mary I of England - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 March 2015. “As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her half-brother. During her five-year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions.”

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