Flowers of the Passion, by Saint Paul of the CrossDesiring to satisfy the piety of the faithful, we have gathered into one volume the fragments of the letters of Saint Paul of the Cross which appear in the various histories of his life.

Even though these letters be incomplete, they suffice to reveal in Saint Paul of the Cross a great master of the spiritual life, a sure guide in the way of perfection, a heart burning with divine love - in a word, a radiantly beautiful soul.

We know with what eagerness the literary world seeks to possess itself of the correspondence of celebrated men, that through their letters may be seen the interesting drama of their interior lives. Now if the children of the world do this to gratify mere human curiosity, surely the children of God may do likewise when there is question of unveiling the secrets of the divine action in the theatre of the Christian soul.

And what a charm there is in reading the interior lives of the friends of God!

Who that is familiar with them does not admire the spiritual letters of Saint Francis de Sales, so full of wisdom, sweetness, and unction, as well as those of Bossuet, Fenelon, and many other teachers in the important and difficult art of the government of souls? Saint Paul of the Cross deserves to rank with these grand spiritual directors; therefore we present this little treatise to the public.

To the letters we have added some reflections or maxims of the saint which ever and anon, like flashes of heavenly wisdom, escaped from his fervent soul; they are well calculated to enlighten and console others less favored than he.

Saint Paul of the Cross was pre-eminently the preacher of the sufferings and Passion of Our Lord, and in entitling this volume "Flowers of the Passion" we believe we have given the true name to the beautiful sentiments that it embodies. It was on Calvary, on the holy mount, that the saint culled them. But let us remember that, in order to appreciate the beauty of these Flowers and inhale their sweet and salutary perfume, we must accept, at the risk of wounding our hands, the thorns which surround them and serve as their surety and safeguard. Such is the constant law of the spiritual life: the cross is sweet only to those who love it; and the profound joys of sacrifice are reserved for souls who quail not before its austerities.

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