Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 36, December 28,1720

     Paolo Daneo writes: “Feast of the Holy Innocents. In the morning I was dry and suffered from headaches. I remained thus for a while until the longed-for moment of holy Communion had come, after which I was moved by the infinite goodness to deepest recollection and to intense loving aspirations and colloquies with our beloved Spouse.      “Then I recalled the Flight into Egypt made with such lack of comfort, with much suffering, and the sorrow of Mary and Joseph, but especially of Mary. Within my poor soul there was a mingling of sorrow and love, with many tears and much sweetness.      “Of all this the soul has deep infused understanding, sometimes of all at the same time, sometimes of one mystery only. But it understands these things in a moment, without bodily forms or even imaginary ones. God infuses them into the soul by a work of His infinite mercy and love. In the very same moment in which the soul understands this in the most elevated fashion, it either rejoices or is sorrowful according to the mystery. In the majority of cases there is always a mingling of holy satisfaction.     “Later in the evening I had special sorrow for my great sins and failings, for my innumerable shortcomings, knowing myself to be an abyss of ingratitude. During the day I had also a special knowledge of myself. I know that I told my Divine Savior that I could call myself nothing other than a miracle of His infinite mercy. May HIs holy name be praised and magnified by all. Amen.”

     Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, today in his entry Paolo wrote about the Flight into Egypt on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This entry took me where many of Paolo’s entries have taken me lately. It took me to the plight of the poor, the victims of war, the refugees, the immigrants, the hungry, the abused. How many innocents are there in our world today? How many of these innocents have become orphans due to war and disease? Where do they go? Who is there for them? I know, my Jesus, You are there for them. And there are many loving people working to help them, but most of us continue our lives as normally as possible and only worry about our own. Oh, my Jesus, if only Your Heart could take us over for just a few days! If that could happen the world would not be in the straits it is now. Unfortunately, selfishness rules our world today. Lord, open our eyes to Heaven, where everyone is equal and loved.

     Orlando’s entry: On December 28,1720, once again the Living God in the Eucharist fills the heart of Paolo and leads him into “colloquy” with Jesus. This way of reaching out to God using words, “aspirations”, and engaging the imagination will be recommended in different ways by Paul of the Cross throughout his life, in his letters of spiritual directions and probably his sermons. He tells us to “listen” to God in prayer. Paolo sees these Divine Messages as “infused understandings”, beyond words, time, concepts, even images, causing great rejoicing and sorrow….. then leading us to self-knowledge and contrition. Thank You, Lord, for giving me such a “prayer coach” in Your holy servant St. Paul of the Cross.  

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