Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 34, December 26,1720

    On this day Paul Daneo wrote: “ Feast of St. Stephen Martyr. I experienced a special uplifting of soul especially at holy Communion. I wanted to go to die a martyr’s death in a place where the adorable mystery of the Blessed Sacrament is denied. The infinite Goodness has given me this wish for some time past but today I had it in a special manner, for I desired the conversion of heretics, especially of England with the neighboring kingdoms and I offered a special prayer for this at holy Communion. 
    I had also special understanding of the infinite mercy, our Sovereign Good making me realize the greatness of His love in inflicting punishment in this life so as to avoid an eternity of suffering. And because His infinite Majesty knows the place which His infinite justice has prepared for the justly deserved punishment of sin, so His infinite mercy is moved by compassion to inflict loving chastisements, with which He warns His sinful creatures to amend their lives so that they may avoid eternal punishment and may give His service first place in their lives. 
All this I understand in a second with many tears mingled with the greatest degree of sweetness. “

    Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, today in his diary, Paul talks about an epiphany he had for just a few seconds. You, my Lord, give us that gift of understanding some of the mystery that surrounds You. We must relish those seconds of enlightenment. Those seconds are how our faith and understanding grow and get us ready to face You in our final days. Thank You, my God and Redeemer. We can’t do anything without You. We are Your dependents for life.

    Orlando’s entry: Today’s entry by Paolo left me depressed and somewhat dismayed. He writes about the sufferings of life as a sort of “purgatory” here in this world, so may we may be led to contrition and conversion, that we might be worthy of Eternal Life in God. I have met and loved many people who were drawn closer to God through suffering, but I have met just as many who instead became bitter and distant from Him.      
    Fifty-five years after writing this diary, even Paul Daneo, with only months left to live, confessed to his disciple, Rosa Calabresa, that the attacks of dryness and desolation that we have read about all these days continued tormenting him for all his life, even as he also had luminous mystical experiences and accomplished great things for God. When he had that lovely vision holding the baby Jesus what did he do? Confess his unworthiness to Him in a miraculous kind of Sacrament of Reconciliation. After all these years, after converting countless people and founding a religious order, he still felt that he was not good enough! So, I look inside and wonder whether there is any hope for me. Paolo’s example comes to the rescue: persistence in faith, trust in God’s providence, trust in His love, trust in the Salvific power of His Passion, and most importantly— find His Peace in prayer as often as possible— persevere! As for all those unrepentant sinners and unbelievers? My Lord pushes me to pray for them, approach them respectfully, give them the example of Love, and share Who is the One that shines in my heart!

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