Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 10

     On December 2, 1720, Paul Daneo writes: “ I was without feeling and distracted both during prayer and at holy Communion but with this difference: at holy Communion I was not distracted and indeed I am hardly ever distracted then; dry and without feeling, yes indeed, but either before or afterwards I nearly always seem to experience a movement of the heart which comes and goes in a second so that I hardly notice it. Then I remain like a stump or it continues longer. In all things, blessed be the sweet Giver of all good.”       

Orlando’s entry: This is an important day. Paolo begins to write the Rule for the religious order that he wishes to establish. Perhaps Paul needed to do something like this in order to get out of the spiritual rut that he was in. He writes about his dry, uninspired day, except for a split second during the Eucharist, when he experiences a “movement of the heart”. I relate to that. There has not been a single Eucharist, among the thousands of Masses that I have celebrated since my conversion the I have not been STRUCK by the Divine Spirit of Jesus, the High Priest. That is one primary reason why I am still here, in this spiritual journey.     Today, talking about the inspirations of saints like St. Paul of the Cross, my Berta remembered being distracted during prayer thinking about her mother and what a good woman she was— all the good that she did and left behind, especially in her daughter. Berta began to cry deeply about the ways she let her mother down. The Passionist Bennet Kelly consoled us in his writing: “Lord free me from any scruples about not being perfect and deepen my conviction that You love me no matter what.”   I believe that’s how her mother feels about Berta. We remembered her, she actually had a spiritual Christian life when she lived alone. We really believe she is a saint in heaven praying for us….. Edenia, please talk to Our Beloved. Intercede for Berta’s health! Berta, my love— you’re one of the kindest women I have ever known. Jesus is very, very proud of you, just like I am!

     Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, in St. Paul of the Cross’ diary today, he brought up again how he was without feeling and distracted except in holy Communion. It’s fascinating to me how this man who went through this, 300 years ago, could have experienced what I experience. Lord, I am not a saint, but I identify with this man, who is one. That shows me, my God, that we are all human, going through the human experiences of distraction, lack of feeling, hunger, thirst, happiness, unhappiness, fear, relief, temptations! What keeps me  aware of You are those seconds that St. Paul of the Cross mentions: the Touch that comes from the Divine. It could be at Mass. It could be in conversation. It could be a bird’s song, or the beauty of a natural scene, or my granddaughter’s smile. God is present to us at all times, but due to our human frailties we only notice them for a second here and there. So we walk through life as if in a desert, going from oasis to oasis, drinking the Water of Life for just a few seconds. Yet that Water of Life, which is You, Jesus, will help us to never thirst again, or at least get us to the next oasis!     You are the Light! You are the Life! You are Love incarnate! Thank You my Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Help me to find You always in my human desert.

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