Today is the Feast Day of St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionist congregation. As a Passionist Oblate Associate, this is an extra special day for me.
I am a very opinionated person, which is why I blog, but when it comes to teaching, particularly about spiritual things, I’m not so gifted. Sharing news and opinion is one thing. Teaching is quite another. Because of my Asperger Syndrome, it is difficult for me to interpret where others are coming from, and since we are all so very unique anyway, including in spiritual matters, it is difficult for me to know what to say to you about such things in a manner that I could have certainty would be beneficial to you. There isn’t much that I can teach you specifically, myself, about St. Paul of the Cross and the Passionist charism. I can only plant seeds by showing you where to look for the great treasure of the Passionist love for Christ.
“The service of God does not require good words and good desires,
but efficient workmanship, fervor and courage”
- St. Paul of the Cross
There are many resources online about St. Paul of the Cross, a lot of which can be found through the website and blog, of the Passionist Nuns of St. Joseph Monastery, here in Kentucky, but I think the one I would like to share with you on this Feast Day is one that I found in the resource library section at Catholic Culture: St. Paul of the Cross: Outstanding Example of the Reparative Character of the Night of the Spirit.
This passage in particular is something I most want to share.
At the outset, the Christian soul must not forget that the great interior sufferings Our Saviour and His holy Mother experienced at the sight of sin while He was offering Himself as a Victim for us, were not for their own purification, but for our redemption; and also, that the more souls advance in spiritual perfection, the more their interior sufferings resemble those of Jesus and Mary. It is commonly stated that the servants of God undergo greater trials, whether because they stand in need of a more profound purification, or because they must, following the example of Our Lord, work by the same means as He did for a great spiritual cause, such as the foundation of a Religious Order or the salvation of many other souls. St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa scarcely ever ceased to experience this. The facts show that this is so. One such fact, a particularly striking one, is here singled out; a brief comparison will then be made between the purifying night of the spirit and that night of the spirit which is chiefly reparative and which contains an apostolate of suffering as fruitful as it is hidden.
The interior life of St. Paul of the Cross is offered as an example.
It appears certain that St. Paul of the Cross personally experienced the passive purification of the spirit at the age of twenty-six, especially during a forty-day retreat made during the year 1720. Father Cajetan reports these trials at length (pp. 41-63). During this time, the Saint heard spoken against God “diabolical words, which, he said, pierced him, heart and soul” (op. cit., p. 55).
This passive purification of the spirit was brought to an end by a wonderful contemplation of the Passion of the Saviour (op. cit., pp. 57-73), a contemplation which made the Saint “appropriate to himself, through love, the most holy sufferings of Jesus.” “The soul,” said he, “quite immersed in pure love, without image, in very pure and naked faith, finds itself of a sudden, when it pleases the Sovereign Good, plunged into the sea of the Saviour’s sufferings,” and sees “that the Passion is a work entirely of love” (op. cit., p. 57). From this moment, the Saint’s prayer consisted in the clothing of himself with the sufferings of Jesus and in letting himself be immersed in the Saviour’s divinity (op. cit., p. 62).
I do hope you will read the article in its entirety.
I have found that my spiritual home is with the Passionists because my heart is at home with Jesus.