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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Friday, April 28, 2017

SAINT PAUL of the CROSS

SAINT PAUL of the CROSS
Founder
(1694-1775)

The eighty-one years of this Saint's life were modeled on the Passion of Jesus Christ. In his childhood, when praying in church, a heavy bench fell on his foot, but the boy paid no attention to the bleeding wound, and spoke of it as "a rose sent from God." As a young man, he wished to be a religious, but his confessor, who had determined to humiliate him, commanded him to go to a dance. As he stepped out onto the floor out of obedience, the strings of the musicians' instruments broke, and the event ended.



About this time, the vision of a scourge with "love" written on its lashes made him understand that "God wanted to scourge my soul, but out of love." His thirst for penance would indeed be satisfied. In the hope of dying for the Faith, he enlisted in a crusade against the Turks; but a voice from the Tabernacle told him to return home, because another war, a spiritual one, was awaiting him there.
At the command of his bishop, he began while a layman to preach the Passion, and a series of crosses tested the reality of his vocation. He made a retreat of forty days in a damp outbuilding near the church of Castellazzo, and there he wrote in five days the Rule for a Congregation which he knew he had to found. A penitential trip across the Apennines in winter, without coat, hat or sandals, and with virtually no food, made under obedience to consult a bishop, was only the first of his long journeys. The bishop could not give approbation to his intentions. Having been jeered at on the road, he said, "These scoffings were of great benefit to my soul."
In the hermitage where he dwelt on his return to Castellazzo, several companions came to join him, but all of them save his faithful younger brother, John Baptist, deserted him. He taught catechism to the children, and when he preached before adults he held them spellbound for two hours. The Passion's full sanctifying power was bearing fruit through him. Nonetheless, when he went to Rome the Sovereign Pontiff refused him an audience; it was only after a delay of seventeen years that papal approbation was obtained and the first house of the Passionists opened on Monte Argentaro, which was the site Our Lady had pointed out.
Saint Paul of the Cross established for his Order, on the breast of their black habit, a badge he had seen in a vision, having on it the Holy Name of Jesus and a cross surmounting a heart with three nails, in memory of the sufferings of Jesus. But he invented another more secret and durable sign for himself. Moved by the same holy impulse as Blessed Henry Suso, Saint Jane Frances de Chantal and other Saints, he branded on his chest the Holy Name; it was still found there after his death. His heart beat with a supernatural palpitation which was especially vehement on Fridays, and the heat at times was so intense as to scorch his shirt in the region of his heart.
Saint Paul of the Cross suffered for forty-five years from spiritual desolation, an expiatory suffering which he bore with perfect patience. Despite fifty years of incessant bodily pain and all his trials, he read the love of Jesus in all things, though demons were tormenting him constantly. At one time his sciatica prevented him from sleeping for forty days; he prayed for the grace of an hour's sleep, but to this Passionist's prayer, heaven saw fit to remain deaf. Such was the life of one of the greatest disciples of Christ's Passion. He died while the Passion was being read to him, and so passed like his Lord from the cross to eternal glory.


Words and sayings of Saint Paul of the Cross:
"I want to set myself on fire with love...I want to be entirely on fire with love...and I want to know how to sing in the fire of love."

"Look upon the face of the Crucified, who invites you to follow Him. He will be a Father, Mother--everything to you."

"Oh Love, oh fire of charity; how powerful You are!"

"I enjoy remaining on the Cross. How beautiful it is to suffer for Jesus!"....."I rejoice in the nails that hold me crucified"

"Ah, my Supreme Good. What were the sentiments of your Sacred Heart when You were scourged? My beloved Spouse, how greatly did the sight of my grievous sins and my ingratitude afflict You! Oh, my only Love, why do I not die for You? Why am I not overwhelmed with sorrow? And then I feel that sometimes my spirit can say no more but remains thus in God with His sufferings infused into the soul- and sometimes it seems as if my heart would break.”
"Your crosses dear God, are the joy of my heart. How beautiful to suffer with Jesus!"

"I hope that God will save me through the merits of the Passion of Jesus. The more difficulties in life, the more I hope in God. By God's grace I will not lose my soul, but I hope in His mercy."
"I am a bottomless pit and deserve no light, so unworthy am I."

"Christ Crucified is a work of love. The miracle of miracles of love. The most stupendous work of the love of God. The bottomless sea of the love of God, where virtues are found, where one can lose oneself in love and sorrow. A sea and a fire or a sea of fire. The most beneficial means of abandoning sin and growing in virtue, and so in holiness."

"At holy Communion I had much sweetness. My dear God gave me infused knowledge of the joy which the soul will have when we see him face to face, when we will be united with Him in holy love. Then I felt sorrow to see Him offended and I told Him that I would willingly be torn to pieces for a single soul. Indeed, I felt that I would die when I saw the loss of so many souls who do not experience the fruit of the Passion of Jesus.”

"Oh my Love, what happened to Your heart in the Garden! Oh, what suffering; what shedding of blood! What bitter agony, and all for me!".

"I felt pain in seeing my dear God so offended. I could faint from seeing so many souls lost for not feeling the fruit of the Passion of Jesus. A desire to convert all sinners will not leave me."
"Oh good Jesus, how swollen, bruised, and defiled with spittle do I behold Thy
countenance! O my Love! Why do I see Thee all covered with wounds? Oh
infinite sweetness, why are Your bones laid bare? Ah, what sufferings! What
sorrows! O my God, why are You all wounded? Ah, dear sufferings! Dear wounds! I wish to keep you always in my heart."

"Oh Jesus, my Love, may my heart be consumed in loving Thee; make me
humble and holy; give me childlike simplicity; transform me into thy holy
love. O Jesus, life of my life, joy of my soul, God of my heart, accept my heart as an altar, on which I will sacrifice to Thee the gold of ardent charity, the incense of continual, humble and fervent prayer, and the myrrh of constant sacrifices! Amen."

"The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus, which are the miracle of miracles of the Love of God"
"Oh my good God, how gentle You are! How sweet You are! Oh dear cross, I embrace you and press you to my heart!"
"We ought to glory in nothing other than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. You are blessed and don't know it. You have Jesus Crucified with you."

Story of Saint Paul of the Cross