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.

image

The novena is here.

From the life of Saint Paul of the Cross

  
The Saint possessed extraordinary power over the devil. While giving a mission in Orbetello, there was a great commotion in the soldiers’ barracks. One of the soldiers, screaming in terror, was being dragged and jostled by an invisible force. St. Paul was brought to the scene and with his Crucifix held high, he commanded the spirit to depart. When the devil resisted, he ordered the soldier to make an act of contrition. The Saint then demanded the departure of the devil. No longer able to resist, the evil spirit left. The soldier confessed his sins and thereafter enjoyed peace of soul and mind. 

[Taken from: www(dot)saintpaulofthecross(dot)com]

This is a bit late in coming liturgically, but concerning the Good Shepherd, the book I am reading right now, Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, calls to mind the great charity of the Good Shepherd. It says,

All that He demands is that we turn to Him with complete confidence. Can anything be more reasonable? The amiable Shepherd for thirty-three years or more sought after the lost sheep through thorn-roughened ways, with so much pain that it cost Him the last drop of His Sacred Blood. When this devoted Shepherd see His strayed sheep finally returning to Him with the desire of being guided in the future by Him alone, and with a sincere, though perhaps weak intention of obeying Him, is it possible that He would not look upon it with pity, listen to its cries, and bear it upon His shoulders to the fold? Doubtless he is greatly pleased to see it united again to the flock, and invites the Angels to rejoice with Him on the occasion.

Let us pray the novena of Saint Paul of the Cross with a great reliance on the Saint’s intercession and with a great trust in the Good Shepherd, for He is seeking us out, and trusting in ourselves will not get us very far…

You can find the novena here.

An Introduction to the Life of Saint Paul of the Cross

image
The statue of the Saint in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in Liguria, Italy, the son of devout parents. His childhood was distinguished by an incident in which he and his brother, John Baptist, fell into a river and were rescued by a beautiful lady whom they understood to be the Blessed Virgin. Devout from childhood, he progressively grew deeper in the spiritual life until, at the age of fifteen, he decided to devote his life to prayer and penance.

At the age of twenty he felt that duty required him to join the Venetian army to fight against the Turks in the defense of Christendom. This experience only proved to him that his vocation was elsewhere. After his discharge, he returned to his life of prayer.

After a series of visions in which he was directed to found a congregation that was to be especially devoted to the Passion, Paul composed a rule that was approved by Rome. Known as the Passionist Order, Paul and his brother, John Baptist who had joined him, both settled on Monte Argentaro and there received the first novices. The austere life of the community of the Passionists also included the mission of preaching throughout the countryside, and it was this work that occupied most of the Saint’s life.

St. Paul of the Cross was an extraordinary preacher who possessed many of the mystical gifts including prophecy, bi-location, supernatural perfumes, visions, power over nature and levitation. Recognized as a Saint during his lifetime, he was usually met by throngs of people who were anxious to obtain a piece of his habit as a relic, to touch him or to request a cure or a favor. God was with him everywhere he went, and his preaching missions were attended not only by almost all the local townspeople, but also those of the surrounding towns, so that huge crowds were present at all his missions. And God showed His approval of his servant by granting numerous miracles through his intercession at all his missions as if to say: “This is my beloved servant- listen to him!”.

You can pray the second day of the Novena here.

image

Text above taken from www(dot)saintpaulofthecross(dot)com

Novena to Saint Paul of the Cross (April 20-28)

O! glorious Saint Paul of the Cross, you were chosen by God to profess to all of humanity the bitter sufferings of His only-begotten Son, and to spread devotion to the Passion of Jesus throughout the world.

By your preaching and holy example Jesus converted thousands of sinners through you by bringing them to the foot of the Cross to repent of their sins, thereby obtaining for them His infinite forgiveness and mercy! May Jesus be blessed for His extraordinary grace that was so often made present in your life, and for the many miracles He worked through you for the conversion of souls!

O! blessed St Paul of the Cross, turning towards you now I ask that from your place with Jesus and Mary in heaven that you may look mercifully upon my poor soul and hear my prayers, and with all of your love humbly present them to Jesus for me (mention petitions).

Obtain for me also a great love of Jesus suffering, that by frequent meditation on His Passion I may take up my own cross and accept with holy resignation the sufferings that God has permitted in my life. Help me to suffer and to sacrifice in union with Jesus for the conversion of my poor soul, the souls of my loved ones, and for all of humanity. Help me to love Jesus and Mary with all of my heart, and intercede for me that I may, by the grace of God, die a holy death, and come at last to enjoy with you the blessed Presence of Jesus and Mary in Heaven for all of eternity.

One Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be….

I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord, AMEN

May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts! St Paul of the Cross, pray for us!

Happy Feast of Saint Gemma!

image

Words of Saint Gemma:

“Let me embrace You, heavenly Bridegroom, source of all my consolations. Who am I, to speak so boldly with You? It is true, I am Your creature, but I am bad; It is true that I was made by Your hands, and those very hands, oh Jesus, I pierced with nails….
I got going to late, Jesus, in coming to You…..I found You, Jesus….I found You…I call You, I invoke You, because I am sure. -But where are You? Where are You hiding? I can smell Your presence. Give me wings, Jesus, to fly to your house in heaven.”

I was blessed to begin this beautiful Feast at the Altar of Saint Michael the Archangel at Saint Peter’s. The Passionist’s have had a particular devotion to the Holy Archangel in their Ritiri (‘Retreats,’ as their houses have been called).

image

image

image

image

Thy Will be Done!

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
sanctificétur Nomen Tuum:
advéniat Regnum Tuum:
fiat volúntas Tua,
sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum
cotidiánum da nobis hódie,
et dimítte nobis débita nostra,
sicut et nos
dimíttimus debitóribus nostris.
et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem;
sed líbera nos a malo.

Amen.

image

I am praying this following Novena to Saint Rita for a special intention. Please consider joining in this Novena to also pray for the same intention and for your own intentions.

Novena Prayer:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

1. We honour you, O Saint of Cascia, for your fidelity to your baptismal vows. Intercede for us with the Lord so that we may live with joy and coherency our vocation to holiness, overcoming evil with good..

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

2. We honour to you, O glorious Saint Rita, for your testimony of love for prayer in all the ages of life. Help us to remain united to Jesus because without Him we cannot do anything and only by invoking his name can we be saved..

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

3. We honour you, O saint of forgiveness, for the strength and courage that you have demonstrated in the more tragic moments of your life. Intercede for us with the Lord so that we may overcome every doubt and fear, believing in the victory of love even in the most difficult situations..

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

4. We honour you, O Saint Rita, expert of family life, for the example of virtue that you have left us: as a daughter, spouse and mother, as a widow and nun. Help us so that everyone of us may value the gifts received from God, sowing hope and peace through the fulfilment of our daily duties..

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

5. We honour you, O saint of the thorn and the rose, for your humble and true love for Jesus crucified. Help us to repent of our sins and to love him in all our acts and in the truth..

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

LITANY PRAYER

The fruit of the Spirit is love.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is peace.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is joy.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is patience.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is forgiveness.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is purity.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is mastery of oneself.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

The fruit of the Spirit is hope.
You, Rita, have lived it.

(all) Obtain it for us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

PRAYERS TO SAINT RITA

Under the weight of pain, Saint beloved Rita, I have recourse to you, trusting in being heard. Free, I pray you, my poor heart from the distresses that oppress it and return calm to my spirit, which is full of worries. You who were chosen by God as the advocate of the most desperate cases, implore for me the grace that I ask you (express the grace desired).
If my sins are of obstacle to the fulfilment of my desires, obtain for me from God the grace of repentance and forgiveness by means of a sincere confession.
Do not allow me anymore to shed bitter tears. O saint of the thorn and the rose, reward my great hope in you, and everywhere I will make known your great mercies towards afflicted souls.
O Spouse of Jesus Crucified, help me to live and die well. Amen.

Saint Rita of Cascia, model of spouses, mothers of families and religious, I resort to your intercession in the most difficult moments of my life. You know how often sadness oppresses me, because I do not know how to find the way out of many painful situations.
Obtain for me from the Lord the graces of which I have need, and especially the serene confidence in God and inner calm.
Grant that I may imitate your sweet meekness, your strength in trials and your heroic charity. Grant that my suffering may be useful to all my beloved ones and that we all can be saved for eternity. Amen.