Family Prayer Ministry Of The Holy Spirit

Renewing Families through Intercession

 

We preach Christ Crucified

From a letter by Saint Paul of the Cross, priest, 1694-1775

It is very good and holy to consider the passion of our Lord and to meditate on it, for by this sacred path we reach union with God. In this most holy school we learn true wisdom, for it was there that all the saints learned it. Indeed when the cross of our dear Jesus has planted its roots more deeply in your hearts, then will you rejo “To suffer and not to die,” or, “Either to suffer or to die,” or better: “Neither to suffer, nor to die, but only to turn perfectly to the will of God.”

Love is a unifying virtue which takes upon itself the torments of its beloved Lord. It is a fire reaching through to the inmost soul. It transforms the lover into the one loved. More deeply, love intermingles with grief, and grief with love, and a certain blending of love and grief occurs. They become so united that we can no longer distinguish love from grief nor grief from love. Thus the loving heart rejoices in its sorrow and exults in its grieving love.

Therefore, be constant in practicing every virtue, and especially in imitating the patience of our dear Jesus, for this is the summit of pure love. Live in such a way that all may know that you bear outwardly as well as inwardly the image of Christ crucified, the model of all gentleness and mercy. For if a man is united inwardly with the Son of the living God, he also bears his likeness outwardly by his continual practice of heroic goodness, and especially through a patience reinforced by courage, which does not complain either secretly or in public. Conceal yourselves in Jesus crucified and hope for nothing except that all men be thoroughly converted to his will.

When you become true lovers of the Crucified, you will always celebrate the feast of the cross in the inner temple of the soul, bearing all in silence and not relying on any creature. Since festivals ought to be celebrated joyfully, those who love the Crucified should honor the feast of the cross by enduring in silence with a serene and joyful countenance, so that their suffering remains hidden from men and is observed by God alone. For in this feast there is always a solemn banquet, and the food presented is the will of God, exemplified by the love of our crucified Christ.

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours Vol. IV – Office of Readings

Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775) (Founder of the Passionists) was born at Ovada Italy in 1694 the son of impoverished noble parents. At 15, he adopted a lifestyle of rigorous austerity and mortification. In 1714 he joined the Venetian army to fight against the Turks, and at his discharge one year later he resumed his life of prayer and penance. He spent several years in retreat and in 1720 had a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary wearing a black habit with the name Jesus and a cross in white on the chest. She told him to found a religious order devoted to preaching the Passion of Christ. He drew up a rule during a forty-day retreat that became the basic rule for the congregation he was to found. He received permission to accept novices from Pope Benedict XIII and, together with his brother, was ordained a priest in 1725. He opened his first monastery in 1737. In 1741 he received approval of a modified rule from Pope Benedict XIV and the Barefooted Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion (the Passionists) spread throughout Italy with great demand for their missions which became famous. The Passionists received final approbation from Pope Clement XIV in 1769. Paul preached missions to tremendous crowds bringing about the conversion of the most hardened sinners and criminals. He was favored with supernatural gifts of prophecy, miracles of healing, appearances to people in visions in distant places and was one of the most celebrated preachers of his time. People fought to touch him and to get a piece of his tunic as a relic. Paul died at Rome on October 18, 1775 and was canonized in 1867.