Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 27, December,19 1720


      On this day Paul Daneo writes: “I experienced sweetness mingled with tears of special contrition for my sins, and this before confession and also afterwards— and then it disappeared.”


    Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, sitting with You looking over my sins, when I’m getting ready to go for confession is almost like sitting with my best friend talking about what ails me. As I sit there and meditate on what I will say, I find the connection to You, my Jesus. You guide my thoughts and my words, so when the time comes I feel totally ready. There is “a sweetness mingled with tears” as I face You beforehand. You calm me, bringing peace to a troubled soul and mind. I am so aware of Your concern and Your love for me.      I remember the first time I went to confession after being away from my Faith for over 40 years. What a job that was, but You, my Jesus, were with me the whole time! I remember, the year was 2011, the year I met You,my Lord. It was inside one of those confessionals where you kneel, it’s dark, and the priest opens the window. I have to admit I was scared, but You helped me to get ready. I was facing, in my mind, my Redeemer and Savior, and as I read my sins (there were many), the priest would keep saying, “Oh my! Oh my!”. At the end I came out crying, but relieved! I was exhausted, but elated! I had faced my Lord God and told Him everything that He already knew! It was like a dream! I have to admit that I don’t know what the priest said to me that day, but I do know that my God had a smile on His face ( I could see it with my soul). When I stopped crying I smiled back and told Him “Thank You!”


     Orlando’s entry: In his brief entry, Paolo writes about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the sweet sorrow of contrition. Yesterday I expressed how contrition strikes my heart. I break down before the incredible love and mercy of my Lord. Sometimes it is too much. When I receive the kind advice and absolution of the good priest, I always feel Jesus’ Holy Spirit flooding me with peace. I love this Sacrament, even though I’m ashamed and afraid to go into that confessional. I am a “serial sinner”, but my Lord is a “Serial Forgiver”. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m just trying to take advantage of Him, Who loves me too much!     In our discussion today, Berta commented on how we have failed to accomplish one of the recommended Advent practices: to read a Gospel from beginning to end. She wondered whether we have walked enough with Jesus, having dedicated so much time to walking with St. Paul of the Cross. It’s part of an issue that we are often concerned about. How well are we actually doing in our spiritual journey? There is so much “God-information” coming at us that our minds are just going on overload!      Paul of the Cross wrote later in his life: “ When you become too introspective and curious about your own progress, you have lost sight of God. It is better to stand at the foot of the Cross without noticing yourself.” On another occasion he wrote: “Let such introspection alone and walk in simplicity, loving the will of God and standing by the Cross of Jesus.”….. I get past this barrage of images and look for You, Lord. You look back at me! What else can I say?

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