The Passionists, the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, is beginning the celebration of their third centenary. It was from 21 November 1720 that Saint Paul of the Cross begin writing his holy rule.
I have been on retreat in these days, and it has been very fruitful. Those who have been following my posts these past months know I have been working hard on the Catena Aurea project — it is moving forward quite well. It has been refreshing to have a short break from the work, though the work of focusing on the Gospels and the writings of the Church Fathers is very uplifting. But this retreat was necessary and has been a source of many fruits, thanks be to God, and the peaceful place I find myself. More about this place at the end of the post.
I wanted to share with you some of the words that the Pope has said in light of the 300 years of the Passionist Congregation.
He notes that, “Saint Paul of the Cross, calls the Passion of Jesus ‘the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love’ (Letters II, 499).” It is the memory of this, the memoria passionis, which enlivens the heart of the Passionist, and moves him in all that he is: his prayer, his work, his words, his thoughts, his love. The Pope highlights a quality necessary for a true Passionists, the litmus test of the life of a Passionists, he says: “Only those crucified by love, as Jesus was on the cross, are able to help the crucified of history with effective words and actions.” Crucified by love: first, by love for God, and following upon this, by love of neighbor. There is an integrity in this, which shall be evidenced by one’s life, which has been the goal of my work these past years. The Pope continues, and I read in the words the integrity needed to bear witness to the love of Christ in His Passion, the love of Christ in the Eucharist, “[Indeed], it is not possible to convince others of God’s love only through a verbal and informative proclamation. Concrete gestures are needed to make us experience this love in our own love that is offered by sharing the situations of the crucified, even totally spending one’s life, while remaining aware that between the proclamation and its acceptance in faith there is the action of the Holy Spirit” (Entire text found at link above, emphasis added).
I pray that I may be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. And I seek your prayers as I take some steps in the coming days, weeks, and months. I feel very blessed by some hopeful promptings in recent weeks, but especially throughout the course of this retreat. I pray that I will faithfully follow through with these graces with ‘concrete gestures,’ each day ‘totally spending [my] life.’
Regarding where I am making my retreat. I am in a small village in the northern part of Lazio called Acquapendente. I’ve mentioned this monastery before, as I attended the Solemn Profession of an American nun who makes part of the monastery here. Those of you who may have need of making a donation before the year’s end, I ask you to consider this monastery. The structural integrity of the chapel was compromised in 2016 due to an earthquake. You certainly would not go unrewarded spiritually and in eternal reward in helping these nuns out financially and in praying for them. I pray they will be a significant part of my life in years to come, and in filial devotion to them, brides of Christ, I ask you to consider them as a place to help, to take part in their life in the manner in which you are able. You can find information about how to donate by going HERE. God reward you!