Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 29, December 21, 1720

     We are only including an excerpt of Paul Daneo’s long entry in the diary for December 21st. During this longest night of the year, he undergoes his darkest night so far. His flesh rebels against his spirit and he cannot sustain a prayerful state. His mood is foul. He even makes “unbecoming remarks” against the Parish priests he has to serve. He is even assailed by the most blasphemous of thoughts. In his guilt, he feels the attack of the devil, jealous of Paolo’s desire to be with God. Paolo is more desperate and miserable than ever before. But he invokes the help of his Beloved Mother Mary and faces his agonies with perseverance and total surrender. He welcomes suffering for the following reasons:     “ I would like to make everyone understand the great grace that God, in His mercy, bestows when He sends suffering, especially suffering devoid of consolation. Then indeed the soul is purified like gold in the furnace; without knowing it it becomes radiant and is set free to take flight to its Good, that is to the blessed transformation. It carries the Cross with Jesus and knows it not. This arises from the number and variety of sufferings, which make it forget everything and no longer remembers that it suffers.      “ I understand that this is  great and fruitful way of suffering, most pleasing to God, because the soul thereby becomes indifferent to such an extent that it no longer thinks of sorrow or joy but solely of remaining comformed to the holy Will of its beloved Spouse, Jesus. It desires above all else to be crucified with Him because in this it is more comformable to its beloved God, who during His whole life did nothing but suffer. In all things praised be the Sovereign Good who in His infinite Goodness has deigned to give this infused understanding to such a wretched sinner.”

     Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, what an agonizing day for Paul Daneo. Not only was his body rebelling against him, but he also was under attack from the evil one. The closer we get to You,my God, the more vulnerable are our mind, body, soul, and spirit to outside sources. I want to become more and more like You, Lord, to be “conformed” to You. But, is the road of suffering the only way to You, my God?

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