The Passion and the Crucifix

When you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently, tell - it to preach you a little sermon, and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood. Oh, what an eloquent sermon!

The festival of the cross may be celebrated at every moment in the interior sanctuary of the true lovers of the crucifix. And how may it be celebrated? I will explain to you as best I can. We celebrate this feast spiritually by suffering in silence, without leaning on any creature; and as feasts are kept with joy, the festival of the cross ought to be kept by the lovers of the crucifix by suffering in silence, with a countenance happy and serene, in order that the pain may be hidden from the eyes of creatures and be known only to God. In this feast we feed at a delicious banquet, nourishing ourselves in the divine Will, in imitation of our crucified Love. Oh, what sweet food! It is composed of various elements: mental and physical sufferings, contradictions, calumnies, contempt, etc. Oh, how deliciously these things taste to the spiritual palate, if they be taken in pure faith and holy love, in silence and with confidence!

An angel offered me, one day, a cross made of gold, to teach me the value of tribulations.

Psalm of Love

By the cross God perfects the loving soul that offers Him a fervent and generous heart.

Oh, what can I say of the precious and divine treasure that our great God has hidden in suffering?

But this is a great secret, known only to him who loves; and I, who have had no experience of it, must be content to admire it from afar.

Happy the heart that keeps itself on the cross, in the arms of the Well-Beloved, and that burns only with divine love!

Happier the one that suffers without joy, and is thus transformed into Christ!

Happy he who suffers without being attached to his suffering, desiring only to die to himself, in order to love yet more Him Who inflicts the wound of love!

I give you this lesson from the foot of the cross, but it is in prayer that you will understand it.

Christ prayed for three hours on the cross; this was truly a crucified prayer, without either interior or exterior consolation. O God! what a grand lesson! Beg God to impress it on your heart. Oh, how much food for meditation! While Jesus agonized on the cross He spoke His first three words, which were three arrows of love; and then He kept silence until the ninth hour, praying during the entire interval. I leave you to consider how devoid of consolation was this prayer.

Repose on the naked cross, and make no other complaint than this infantine cry: My Father, my Father, Thy will be done! and then be silent. Continue to repose on the cross until the happy moment of your mystical death. This precious death is more desirable, than life. Then, as Saint Paul said, your life will be hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), and you will find yourself in this profound solitude that you love, and entirely despoiled of every created thing. Now is the moment to suffer in silence and in peace; resign yourself to the agony you suffer, and it will conduct you to mystical death.

The life of the servants of God is a continual death. For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. I wish you to die this mystical death. We have just celebrated the birth of Our Lord, and I am confident that you are born mystically in Christ daily, more and more; and I desire you to die in Him in a mystical manner, from day to day, more perfectly, and to dissipate, in the abyss of the Divinity, all those little distractions that annoy you.

He who is mystically dead seeks only God, Who is so good and so great. He casts away all other thoughts, however good, in order to think only of God. He patiently awaits the ordinances of God; he ignores all else, that there may be no obstacle to the divine operation which is effected in the secret of the soul - there where no creature, neither angelic nor human, may approach; for God alone dwells in this secret place, which is the essence, the spirit, the sanctuary of the soul, where the heavenly hosts themselves are attentive to this divine operation, to this divine birth, which takes place every moment for him who is so happy as to be mystically dead on the cross.

There is where I study my sermon - at the foot of the crucifix.

May the holy cross of Christ remain ever planted in our heart! May our mind be grafted on this tree of life, and may it produce worthy fruits of penance, through the merits of the death of the true Author of life!

Your cross is indeed great! Thanks to our only Good, Who holds you on the cross! O beloved cross! O holy cross, tree of life, whence springs eternal life, I salute thee, I embrace thee, I press thee to my heart! Ah! these are the sentiments which ought to animate us in our trials. Courage, then! courage! Under so heavy a weight human nature will waver, it is true; but the soul will taste a sweet peace in the bosom of God.

Do not consider the magnitude of your trials; contemplate rather Jesus, your crucified Love, the King of sorrows and of anguish. If you do this, all your sufferings will be flavored with sweetness. Lift up, your heart. Fix your heart on God. For the time being, you cannot, I admit, apply yourself to prayer or to other exercises of piety; but, with my confidence founded on Christ, I will give you a rule which will enable you to pray without ceasing: He prays always who lives well. Animate yourself with faith, I beg of you; keep yourself in the presence of God in all your actions.

On awaking, keep your heart under control, by the remembrance of God, your Love, your only Good. When God inspires you with a sentiment of love, stop and taste it, as the bee sips the honey Ah! when I reflect that my soul is the temple of God, that God dwells in me, how my heart rejoices! All affliction appears to me sweet and light What a fruitful source of meditation!

Live in the joy and the peace of the divine Majesty. Live lost in divine love. Live for divine love and of divine love.

O cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!

O souls! seek a refuge, like pure doves, in the shadow of the crucifix. There mourn the Passion of your divine Spouse, and drawing from your hearts flames of love and rivers of tears, make of them a precious balm with which to anoint the wounds of your Saviour.

- text taken from Flowers of the Passion, taken from the letters of Saint Paul of the Cross