Blessed Feast of St. Paul of the Cross!
Yesterday, October 18th, brought us the 236th anniversary of his entrance into eternal life. Today brings us his universal celebration. But since those of us who live in North America are celebrating the North American martyrs today tomorrow will bring us the celebration of St. Paul of the Cross. This change in dates is not well understood. In fact, we have a Little Sister of the Poor here on retreat and this morning she greeted our Superior with a “Happy Feastday!” Mother had to explain the above to her. Probably what adds to the confusion is that the date given in the breviary is October 19th but the date given in the missalette is October 20th!
We are anticipating a day full of spiritual and temporal blessings with a very rich Liturgy of the Hours, Mass offered by our Bishop Medley followed by a wonderful meal.
You all have been included in our prayers during this novena and will be especially remembered in our Holy Mass tomorrow!
Now…for some spiritual reflections.
The Last words of a dying man are never forgotten, much less those of a dying Saint. The following are excerpts of the Last Will and Testament of St. Paul of the Cross. We will be reading this during First Vespers of this great Mystic.
“Before everything else, I strongly recommend the observance of that remembrance given by Jesus Christ to his disciples: “By this will all know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Behold, my dear brothers, what I want of you with my whole heart, both of you here present as well as all others who now wear the habit of penance and mourning in memory of the Passion and Death of our loving, Divine Redeemer, as well as all those who by the Divine Mercy will be called in future times to this small flock of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, I recommend to all, especially to those who will be in the office of superiors, that there always flourish in the Congregation the spirit of prayer, the spirit of solitude, and the spirit of poverty. Let them be sure that, if they will maintain these three things, the Congregation, “will shine like the sun in the sight of God and the nations”.
I recommend with special emphasis filial affection to Holy Mother the Church and entire submission to its visible head, the Roman Pontiff. To that end they will pray day and night in their prayers for the Church and for the Supreme Pontiff. They will also strive to cooperate, as much as they are able for the good of the Church and for the salvation of the poor souls of their neighbor with missions, retreats, and other works that are in accord with our Institute, and promote in the hearts of all devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ and to the Sorrows of Mary most Holy/…/
I recommend in a particular way that they pray with great fervor for our present Holy Pontiff so that the Divine Mercy preserves him prosperously for a long time for the good of his Church and comfort him with the success of his intentions/…
Finally, with my face in the dust and with the weeping of my poor heart, I ask pardon from all in the Congregataion, those present and those absent for all my shortcomings committed in my office, which I exercised in order to do God’s Will for so many years. Oh, poor me, as I depart for eternity, I leave you only my bad examples. However, I must confess that I never had such an intention, but I always had at heart your holiness and your perfection.
You, O Immaculate Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, by the sorrows you experienced in the Passion Death of your Beloved Son, give us your motherly blessing while I place and leave all under the mantle of your protection.
Behold, my dear brothers, what are the remembrances that I leave with you with all my poor heart.
I leave you and I will await all of you in paradise, where I will pray always for the Sovereign Pontiff, for the Church I love so much… I leave all of you, present, absent, and future, my blessing: “May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain forever”.”
Special thanks to our special friend for the above selections from our Founder’s Last Will & Testament