At the Foot of the Cross

More from the book Spiritual Combat, by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli:

[God] permits persons to sin more or less grievously in proportion to their pride, and, if there were any as free from pride as the Blessed Virgin, I dare say, they would never fall. As often as you commit a fault, therefore, immediately strive to probe your inner consciousness; earnestly beg our Lord to enlighten you, that you may see yourself as you are in His sight, and presume no more on your strength, otherwise you will fall again into the same faults, or perhaps much greater ones to the eternal ruin of your soul.

In considering our weakness, let’s turn to more stories from the life of Saint Paul of the Cross, those concerning the power of the Holy Crucifix.

The Saint’s power over nature was exhibited on a number of occasions, especially at Santaflora, where he was to give a talk. Because of his great popularity, the church was crowded. An even greater number of people gathered in the square outside the church. So that both groups could hear him, the Saint stood at the church door and began to speak. The day was clear and bright, but suddenly the sky became dark and rain began to fall in torrents. The people immediately panicked and ran about in confusion. Seeing in this disturbance the work of the devil, the missionary held his crucifix high and blessed the air. Immediately the sky cleared and the people returned to their places. To the wonderment of all, everyone in the square was completely dry, whereas a moment before they had been thoroughly wet.

During another sermon to the people gathered outdoors, the sky suddenly became dark and threatened a terrible storm. Assuring his listeners that it was the work of the devil to prevent the good they were gaining, Paul blessed the black clouds with his crucifix. To the amazement of the people, the rain fell all around, but not a drop of water touched the Saint or the members of his audience.

In his biography of the Saint, Rev. Pius of the Name of Mary tells of a truly astounding miracle that took place when the Saint was scheduled to conduct a mission on the Isle of Elba and was in need of a ship to take him there. The Saint approached a sea captain, who indicated that his ship was badly damaged from a storm at sea and had been drawn up on shore. The Saint told the captain not to worry, that through the power of God their journey would be successful. Captain Fanciullo, an eyewitness, tells what took place.

Wherefore the master, with his sailors and myself, began to haul the vessel towards the sea. The servant of God, too, taking his crucifix from his breast, held it up with his left hand, and with his right helped to haul. In an instant the vessel was in the sea, and both I and others standing by thought it a miracle to get it into the sea with so few hands. I saw Father Paul embark and set sail for Porto Ferrajo, on the Isle of Elba, which they happily reached. News reached us that no sooner were they disembarked, than the vessel split in two and sank.

A miracle reminiscent of St. Anthony and the donkey adoring the Holy Eucharist took place while St. Paul of the Cross was walking beside a farmer who was driving his two young oxen. When the animals became agitated and began giving the farmer some trouble, he blasphemed so badly that the Saint began to admonish him. Becoming even angrier, the farmer leveled a gun at the Saint. Horrified more at the indecent language than he was frightened for his own life, the Saint drew his crucifix from his belt and held it high, saying: “Since you will not respect this crucifix, these oxen will.” As if they understood, the oxen fell immediately to their knees before the image of the crucified Saviour. At the sight of the miracle, the farmer threw down his gun, begged pardon of the Saint and soon went to Confession and reconciled himself to God.

Place yourself at the foot of the Holy Cross and hand over all your weaknesses and shortcomings and wickedness to Our Crucified Lord.

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The novena is here.

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