Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 16

     On December 8,1728 Paul Daneo writes: “In prayer I was at peace as usual. In offering the sufferings which my Jesus endured I felt moved to tears; likewise in praying for the needs of my neighbor. At holy Communion I was particularly recollected, especially is a sorrowful and loving remembrance of the sufferings of my Jesus.      “This high favor which the good God grants me at such a time I know not how to explain because I cannot. You must know that, in recalling the sufferings of my dear Jesus, sometimes when I have only recalled one or two I have to stop because the soul can say no more and feels that it is melting away. It remains thus languishing with the greatest sweetness mingled with tears, with the sufferings of the Spouse infused into it; or to explain it more clearly, it is immersed in the Heart and in the sorrows of its beloved Spouse, Jesus. Sometimes it understands them all, and remains thus in God in this loving and sorrowful contemplation. It is very difficult to explain; it always seems to me to be something new.”

     Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, as I sit and ponder upon the Crucifix I am filled with awe and wonderment. It is hard for me to look at You upon that Cross and not see the Love permeating from it! Each wound shows me the mystery behind my God. These wounds are openings that speak to me of love: compassion, sacrifice, salvation, and total dedication and giving of self. I will never understand why You decided to suffer for us in this way, but I do want You to know that I am eternally grateful to a God that gave His all for me. You gave Yourself willingly, humbly, and quietly for me! How can I ever repay You? Maybe by being the person You want and need be to be? Help me to be open to Your guidance. I am already open to Your love!

     Orlando’s entry: To think that the week before, Paul was in a well of dryness and depression. Today was a luminous time for him. Through perseverance in prayer, God finally reward him with emotions of love and empathy for the Crucified Jesus and for humanity. It is not altogether pleasant; there are bitter tears and deep sorrow involved. And then, for this anointed man, CONTEMPLATION of the mystery, wonder, and consolation of God descends upon him. Such an experience is unexplainable.    

 I loved how he wrote that the God experience seems brand new every day. Today I had little time to pray in my usual way. Berta had an important appointment with the eye doctor. We were very worried about her eyesight. Because of the coronavirus, I had to wait outside for 1 1/2 hours. I prayed for so many people, then went for a long walk in the thirty-degree windy weather. My eyes and heart gradually opened to the desolate late-fall landscape on either side of Shelter Rock Road. I praised my God for His Creation. As I walked all alone in that expanse, I had to stop three times to look behind me, because I felt that someone was walking right in back of me. There was no person anywhere. Suddenly, I just KNEW that my silent companion was Jesus Himself. That was an unexpected, new experience for me!    

 Back at the car, on the phone, I rejoiced and thanked and praised God with my Charismatic God-friend Marie, because our friend Betty had come out successfully from her cancer operation. Just then, my wife came into the car to tell us that her eyes were fine! The three of us, through speaker-phone, went on and on in laughter and praise for our Living God. We just couldn’t stop. It was a wild, luminous moment. Thank You, My Lord!

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