Paul of the Cross:  Feast Day Homily

By Msgr. Bernard Powers

To celebrate this feast of St Paul of the Cross with you
is to share deeply in your rich heritage.

I stand on the fringe;
You are in the center.

For me, Paul is a name
and his teachings an instruction.

For you, Paul is a Father
and his teachings are a way of life.

On this feast of St Paul of the Cross
I call attention to phases of his life
to encourage you
to follow more faithfully...
to live more deeply...
to love more generously...

I call to your memory
some of his teachings
to affirm you in your quest for God
and console you in your struggles.
to set before you a depth to be plunged....
                  a heights to be scaled.....

Paul always takes you to Jesus:

" To make this wonderful flight of love
you must pass through the Door which is Christ."

"If you wish to be secure,
enter into that divine solitude by the Door
which is Jesus Christ
and His most holy Passion.....

Allow the soul to repose in God
with loving attention,
in the sacred silence of faith and love.
The Holy Spirit will teach you everything."    p. 50

Paul takes you to Jesus in the Passion:
"... In the Passion there is everything."

Tauler:  " ... if all teachers were dead and buried,
and if all books were burnt,
we would find enough wisdom and discretion
in the example and life of the Lord and Savior,
no matter what the necessity,
if only we observed Him carefully
and earnestly,
how He has gone before us ...
in every kind of most bitter affliction,
cross and sorrow."    pp.53

            Paul sets the example:
"In his life Paul hungered for only two things,
Communion and suffering. "

" If the soul is faithful in suffering
with patience, meekness, and deep resignation
the trials of body and spirit
that God permits,
accepting them immediately from His divine hands,
it is certain that the Divine Majesty will grant it the grace
to know how to contemplate
and to meditate on the sacred sufferings of Jesus Christ,
and to imitate His divine virtues.
This is a most perfect kind of contemplation."  p. 57

Paul had daily attacks of
aridity... suffering.... desolation.
Yet remains aware of the purification of spirit
and loving union with the
suffering Christ.

The soul that God wants to draw to a lofty union  with
                                                Himself by holy prayer
must pass through this way of suffering in prayer.....
and I mean
suffering without any sensible consolation..."  p. 59

One great teaching of St Paul of the Cross
that gives an insight into his spirituality is his

This is a phase of his teaching
that deals with the interior life...
the way of perfection....
the spiritual and contemplative union of the soul with God.

His teaching on Mystical death and Divine nativity
contains the doctrine of highest perfection and sanctity.

" In deepest humility and centered on your nothingness...
but with a lofty and filial confidence in the Lord,
lose all in the abyss of the infinite love of God...
and be reborn to a new divine life,
a life of total love,
and an all -holy life,
and let the Divine Nativity be in the Divine word,
Christ Our Lord."            p. 23.

This most wise teaching of St Paul of the Cross
flowed from the Sacred Scripture:
" The kingdom of God is within"
" You are the temple of the Living god."

Mystical Death and Divine Birth
is a dedication of one's whole life to God.

This great spiritual experience
at a moment called " introversion "..
is the act of withdrawal from all
to enter into the fullness of God.

It is an interior withdrawal,
" a quickening of faith
which makes the soul plunge into the abyss of the Divinity."

Here, death means
the highest grade of abstraction from
everything created,

and birth means
the mysterious new life
which the soul
finds in God,
or receives from Him as if by a
mystical infusion."

This Mystical Death
signifies a transition
to a life of pure love;
It enables one to say that the soul is deified:

"You must die in Christ
with the mystical death of pure and holy love,
in order that your may rise again with Him to a
new, defied life,
and live a life of holy love,
in the purest love of the great King of hearts
and holy love."

This new life
takes place in the very depth of the soul:

" May Jesus cause you to be reborn
to a new life of holy love;
and if you are faithful...
this spiritual divine birth
will take place
in the interior temple of your Soul,
not only now,
but always....
You are the temple of the Living God.
Adore God within."

In the very depth of your soul;

" Immerse yourself in blind faith
in the interior depth of your soul,
at the very summit of the mind,
for there
you will find God;
there you will find peace
and all riches. "

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The sacred path into union with God
is meditation on the Passion of Our Lord.

Here we learn true wisdom.

Here you find joy .

Here the Heart comes to rejoicing.

            Love is a virtue that takes upon itself
the torments of its beloved Lord.

Love is a fire
reaching through to the inmost soul

Love transforms the lover
into the one Loved.

Love intermingles with grief
and grief with love so that a blending occurs.

The loving heart rejoices in its sorrow
and exults in its grieving love.

Conceal yourselves in Jesus Crucified
and hope for nothing except
that all men
be thoroughly converted to his will.