Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 31, December 23,1720

     On December 23rd Paolo Daneo wrote a very long entry of which we will include some important excerpts. Once again Paolo was harassed by painful obstacles to his prayer with God, and once again he persevered. He provides for all of us this great metaphor about perseverance in prayer: “ When the sea is swept by storms, the waters are raised by the wind and swell into huge billows. As these waves approach the rocks they beat upon them as if they wanted to break them up and smash them to pieces. But not so! They beat upon the rocks, yes, but they do not break through nor do they smash them to pieces although they may knock off a small chip here and there. No matter how great the waves may be, because the rocks are so hard there is no danger that they may be shattered. Similarly, the soul at prayer is a rock because God holds it fast in His infinite love. It may even be called a rock of strength because the Sovereign Good imparts this strength to it….. The devil, envious of this high state of the soul at prayer, sees that he cannot snatch it from the infinite grasp of the Immense Divinity but attempts nevertheless to disturb it to some degree. He assails it with temptations, or else with vain imaginings; with different kinds of thoughts, or again— the better to deceive it— with his infamous lies….. Amidst these stormy waves of the devil the soul stands firm as a rock provided that it always remains firmly fixed in its beloved Good…..     “In fighting these attacks and repulsing them the soul may appear to be at a disadvantage because it loses a little of its loving attentiveness and seems to be no longer in the embraces of its beloved Spouse. But God makes me understand that the soul is with Him and that He is pleased to see it thus engaged in battle. This is more profitable for the soul for, as a result of what it suffers and endures in the struggle, it is purified like the rock which before the storm may have been covered with debris but after the storm is cleansed because the waves have washed it clean.”

     Berta’s entry:    Dear Jesus, St. Paul of the Cross and many Catholics believe that the evil one wants at all costs to disrupt our peace in You, my God. One of the things the evil one does is create doubt in us. When doubt comes into our minds we feel that we are in control and not You, and most of the time this leads us to sin. Lord Jesus, I want to be a rock, like Paolo said. A rock that is so solid in You that it cannot be destroyed when attacked. But if a few pieces get chipped in that attack I always have Your prayers to return to and this will calm the waters of destruction and bring me back to the the peace in You my soul totally craves.       “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

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