"Would that I could persuade spiritual persons that the way of God consists not in the multiplicity of meditations, ways of devotion or sweetness, though these may be necessary for beginners, but in one necessary thing only, in knowing how to deny themselves in earnest, inwardly and outwardly, giving themselves up to suffer for Christ’s sake, and annihilating themselves utterly. He who shall exercise himself herein, will then find all this and much more. And if he be deficient at all in this exercise, which is the sum and root of all virtue, all he may do will be but beating the air—utterly profitless, notwithstanding great meditations and communications.
There is no progress but in the imitation of Christ, Who is the way, the truth, and the life. ‘I am the way,’ saith He, ‘and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.’* And again, ‘I am the door. By Me if any man enter in he shall be saved. That spirituality, therefore, which would travel in sweetness at its ease, shunning the imitation of Christ, is, in my opinion, worth nothing."
John of the Cross. (1864). The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (D. Lewis, Trans.) (Vol. 1, p. 78). London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green.