Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 13

     On December 5, 1720 Paolo writes: “During prayer and at Communion I was at peace. At the beginning— that is, before receiving Communion— I had much tenderness and also much self-knowledge. I asked the angels who assist at the adorable mystery to drive me forth from the church as worse than a devil; but at the same time special confidence in my Sacramental Spouse did not desert me. I asked Him to keep in mind the saying He has left me in the holy Gospel, that He is come to call not the just but sinners.”

     Orlando’s entry: I have got to stop watching the cable news before doing my meditations with Berta. I went into our readings distracted, full of anger and guilt regarding a number of people in the news.  Providentially at the end of our meditation we read from Passionist Bennet Kelley’s booklet of daily reflections (“Living Wisdom for Every Day”). In the Paul of the Cross quote for the day, the saint advises us not to see our resentment of others as a sin (!) but as an invitation to love, as we see that person that bothers us “at the side of Jesus”. A picture of the wounds of Jesus shining with incandescent white heat : power, love, forgiveness, mission, and so much more, radiating into me, takes over my mind and scares me, at the same time that this light heals me in so many ways! Jesus, Your Passion is the vortex, the center of gravity that lets me approach the answer, or at least some peace, in the mysteries of suffering and sin.      In his diary, 26-year old Paolo has a strangely similar experience. The Eucharist does not take him into a spiritual ecstasy this time, but rather into the peace of Jesus. That’s fine with me! But so much Jesus in our hearts, can split us open like the Sword, the Word, does, and exposes so many evil instincts in him (and me!). He feels violent  remorse. But his beloved Master reminds Paolo that he will never let him go. Our Lord came to heal sinners like him and me. This is an important Paulocrutian theme. Oh merciful God! I love You.     

Berta’s entry:  Dear Jesus, I trust in You! When we persist in calling out to You, You come, answer, and leave us with Your love. In Paolo’s diary entry today, he wrote that before Mass he was at peace. Before Communion he had “much tenderness and also much self-knowledge”. Yet, after Communion, he was asking the angels to treat him worse than a devil. But Paolo ended his entry by saying: “I asked Him to keep in mind the saying He has left me in the holy Gospel that he is come to call not the just but sinners.”     Here was a day of peace and self-knowledge but after Communion he sensed that he was not being humble enough. Here he was thinking that he had it all. What happened at Communion that he wanted to be treated worse than devils? I suppose that knowing that You, Jesus, came more for sinners than the righteous gave him some comfort.      The ups and downs of the psyche! One minute peace, the next neutral, then comes the misery, the sorrow, the uncertainty, the guilt… then back up to a much better thought process and attitude—the roller coaster of humanity. We have no peace, no satisfaction, unless we are with You, my Lord Jesus. You are the steady, dependable source in my life. I look to You for peace, understanding, patience and calmness! I look to You to help me understand myself through Your eyes. I realize that I have always been a sinner and that hasn’t changed. Thank You for coming for me! Help me see myself as You see me!  

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