Retreat with St. Paul of the Cross- Day 39, December 31,1720

     On New Year’s Eve Paul Daneo wrote: “ Feast of St. Sylvester. I was dry and distracted, but with interior peace. I was molested by the thoughts referred to above. At holy Communion I was at peace, yes, but almost without feeling and unmoved in affection. Towards evening I was particularly recollected.”          

Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, in thinking about Paul Daneo facing his future I am aware of my limitations in my relationship with You. For the last 39 days I have met with You in this diary (my prayer diary) through the influence of Paolo Daneo’s words. My entries revolved around him and my reactions to his words. Tomorrow this 40-day retreat with Paolo will be over and I will continue my relationship with you, my God.      I am not saying that I haven’t gotten closer to fortifying our relationship, my Jesus. What I am realizing is that there won’t be an intermediary between us. It will be You, Your Word, Your Holy Spirit, and me looking to reach the Father in a more intense way. I am looking forward to that again. Something I had lost before our retreat. Thank You for Orlando, Lord, he was the inspiration for this retreat. I know You used him to get me back on track to You! My way to You is more wide open. Please guide me to the right path! I love You, my Triune God! I can’t live without You!

     Orlando’s entry: Paolo is so near the end of his retreat! Only one day left. His worries about the future continue but his “interior peace” in God never leaves him. A new year is almost upon him, a new, unknown life with so many challenges. But God lives within him as a guiding, solid force.      For Berta and I the end of our retreat is almost here; so is the end of 2020, in so many ways a dreadful year. Our time together, as wife and husband, partners in Christ, followers of St. Paul of the Cross, has been truly essential to our peace of mind during these isolating, trying days in the history of our country and the world. A dear friend asked me recently, “So what did you get out of this retreat?” Our weeks of fasting, prayer, isolation at home, spiritual reading, meditation, writing, faith sharing, and prayer….. brought Berta and I closer than we ever thought we could be, and yet they made our respect for each other’s space, our personal relationships more important and fine. We have developed a habit of praying together (especially with the  Advent candles), reading Scripture, sharing what God tells us. We want to continue this practice for the rest of our lives. Our solitary prayer with God is more important than ever, even with its “roller-coaster” struggles at times. It gives us a hunger, a need to serve Him by serving others in love and sacrifice. Lord, guide us in finding ways to help the crucified of today!

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