Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 23, December 15,1720

    Once again Paul Daneo skips three days from writing anything. On the fourth day he makes a long entry which we will divide into four parts.
    For December 15-18, 1720 Paul wrote: “During these days I was dry, distracted with uneasiness and conflicts between the spirit and the flesh of the kind that I have explained above. Assailed sometimes more, sometimes less by impatience; tempted to leave my prayer; temptations to eat, feeling a specially keen appetite—  this happened to me even at prayer.”

    Orlando’s entry: Here come four more days of trials and temptations for Paul. Eventually he will face them with perseverance, acceptance, even gratitude to God, but at first it must have been so difficult. After reading this I again realize that the closer I feel that I am coming to God, the farther I realize that I am. Today, in my prayer of “Elevation,” I remain “stuck” to the ground! Disturbing thoughts and temptations abound. My body itches or aches in different places. I even look at the clock to see if enough time has passed so I can “call it a day” at prayer. Images of Cuban-style pulled pork and plantains, some rum cake, and a couple of glasses of wine interfere with my attempts to imagine God. Later, at Mass, this happens again.

    The only consolation I get is that at the most unexpected moments my Loving God just grabs my full attention and touches me in the sweetest, most powerful, luminescent way. He indulges me so! I don’t deserve it. It is as if He gives me just a small spoonful of the sweetest honey, that can last me the whole day and make me see how blessed I am to know Him. But the honey sits bitterly in my stomach.

     I complain to my God: “Lord, why can’t You give this joy to everyone in the world? Why do so many people not know You? Please, my Beloved, manifest Yourself to all of them! Then peace on earth, here and now, can have a chance! This is my Christmas prayer. I don’t care how impossible it seems to me. Forgive me for being Your petulant little toddler!”

    Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, I identify so much with what the young Paolo Daneo wrote in his diary today: “I was dry, distracted with uneasiness and conflicts between the spirit and the flesh”….. Yes, Lord Jesus, You know I have felt like that many a time. I want to be with You, in Your presence, basking in the peace of Your graces, but then out of the blue unrequited thoughts come and invade that peace. Impatience all of the sudden sticks its ugly head in! Hunger, or gluttony wrack my brain! Things that have been neglected shine into my brain and disturb my eyes, and I give up on You, my Jesus

    What can I say except that I’m human and sometimes the mind is more powerful than the soul. Forgive me, my Jesus, for being such a weak specimen. I’m trying to grow through You, with You, and in You. Don’t give up on me, my Lord Jesus. You, my God, are my hope, my life, and my salvation. I count on You! Thank You for Your patience and Your love. Help me to persevere!

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