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

 

MYSTICAL DEATH AND DIVINE NATIVITY.

 

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.