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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Contemplate the Cross

WHEN you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently - tell it to preach you a little sermon and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood. Oh what an eloquent sermon!

~ St. Paul of the Cross, Flowers of the Passion

Today is the Memorial of St. Paul of the Cross, priest and founder of the Passionists. I have a special devotion to him for many reasons, although I am only now beginning to discover his writings. Devotion to the Passion of Our Lord is a rare thing, especially in today's culture that seeks to escape suffering...never to embrace it. Yet in contemplation of Jesus, how can anyone expect to really know and love Him without that perfect unitive love that comes ONLY through suffering?

It is ONLY through suffering that we can know Christ with any real intimacy. He invites us into His Passion, to contemplate His wounds, suffered for love of us. He gave all. The Father looks at us through the wounds of Our Lord, and through those same wounds, we are absorbed into Him and given the grace to rest, completely, within His Most Sacred Heart.

"Love is a unitive virtue which appropriates the sufferings of the Beloved."

Spend some time each day contemplating the Cross, seeking to unite yourself with the Passion of Our Lord. Recall that each time you attend Mass, you are kneeling at the very foot of the Cross, the one and only Sacrifice of Calvary, having just offered yourself as a holocaust in union with
Him. Know what you are seeking, know what is being made present to you, and know that it is possible to be completely lost within the wounds that bring us all to salvation...if we are only willing to drink deeply of that cup so freely offered for our sins.

"Would that I could set the whole world on fire with love of God!"

St. Paul of the Cross....PRAY FOR US!