Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 19

On December 11,1720  Paolo continues: “Now I understand that this kind of prayer of suffering is a great gift which God grants to the soul to make it a spotless robe of purity, a rock in the face of suffering, to such a point that it no longer takes account of it. When, by God’s grace, the soul reaches such a state, the Sovereign Good will inflame it with love.”

     Orlando’s entry: According to Paolo the “prayer of suffering” cleanses and strengthens us as if it were the very Blood of the Lord, which makes us holy persons in snow-white robes or melts us into solid granite, able to face our weaknesses, and get past all impediments, to rest in the Heart of Fiery Love. For some strange reason I was reminded of my beloved passage, Hebrews 4:12-13: “Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from Him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of Him, to Whom we must render an account.” Getting split open by a sharp sword is indeed suffering, specially if this is the sword of Love and Forgiveness, hurting us with such shame and guilt, because we fall short of what He deserves from us who really strive (or do we?) to show Him how much we love Him.     So I offer Him my sufferings in penance. Except that, at this stage of my life, these “sufferings” are merely physical discomforts, fears, frustrations, annoyances, and moments of sadness, so insufficient compared to the struggles of young Paolo and most certainly to the agonies of the Man-God on the Cross. Yet He still takes the little I offer and gives me the consolation of His unconditional Love. The joy I feel is not my invention— I know, I believe it’s all Him! I refer the reader to Hebrews 4:14-16, where I find the heart of my Lord’s Love.

     Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, I don’t enjoy or even like any type of suffering. St. Paul of the Cross’ entries in his diary have been all about suffering lately. It made me wonder what could be the sufferings of a 26-year old Paolo Daneo. Well, Jesus, what about loneliness, hunger, cold, guilt, disappointment, sickness. There they are, enough sufferings to last a lifetime. Enough sufferings to take him straight to the Cross. We all look for a connection to You, my God! After we’ve found You we don’t want to let go. I also reach out to You through Your Cross and Passion. You, my Jesus, are my example of love, humility, compassion, kindness, and living this life of suffering. 

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