St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Congregation of the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion (Passionists), was known to have the ability to reduce hardened criminals and tough soldiers to tears with his gift of speech. Like many saints, his words are still relevant to us today nearly two and a half centuries after his death.
Here are some of St. Paul’s best words of wisdom.
When you want to defend the faith but cannot find the words
“Oh my God! teach me how to express myself. I wish that I were all aflame with love! More than that: I wish that I could sing hymns of praise in the fire of love and extol the marvelous mercies that uncreated Love has bestowed on us! Do you know what consoles me somewhat? To know that our great God is an infinite good and that nobody is capable of loving and praising Him as much as He deserves.”
When you’re feeling angry
“When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings.”
When struggling with a bad habit or reoccurring sin
“Beginners in the service of God sometimes lose confidence when they fall into any fault. When you feel so unworthy a sentiment rising within you, you must lift your heart to God and consider that all your faults, compared with divine goodness, are less than a bit of tattered thread thrown into a sea of fire. Suppose that the whole horizon, as far as you can see from this mountain, were a sea of fire; if we cast into it a bit of tattered thread, it will disappear in an instant. So, when you have committed a fault, humble yourself before God, and cast your fault into the infinite ocean of, charity, and at once it will be effaced from your soul; at the same time all distrust will disappear.”
“I hope that God will save me through the merits of the Passion of Jesus. The more difficulties in life, the more I hope in God. By God’s grace, I will not lose my soul, but I hope in His mercy.”
When ill and suffering
“Be thankful for your precious trials, both interior, and exterior; it is thus that the garden of Jesus is adorned with flowers, that is, with acts of virtue!”
“The more deeply the cross penetrates, the better; the more deprived of consolation that your suffering is, the purer it will be; the more creatures oppose us, the more closely shall we be united to God.”
“What an honor God confers on us when He calls us to travel the same road as His divine Son!”
“Sickness is a great grace of God; it teaches us what we are; in it, we recognize the patient, humble, and mortified man. When sickness weakens and mortifies the body, the soul is better disposed to raise herself up to God.”
Inspirations to live a holier life
“Therefore, be constant in practicing every virtue, and especially in imitating the patience of our dear Jesus, for this is the summit of pure love. Live in such a way that all may know that you bear outwardly as well as inwardly the image of Christ crucified, the model of all gentleness and mercy. For if a man is united inwardly with the Son of the living God, he also bears his likeness outwardly by his continual practice of heroic goodness, and especially through a patience reinforced by courage, which does not complain either secretly or in public. Conceal yourselves in Jesus crucified, and hope for nothing except that all men be thoroughly converted to his will.”
“Do not live any longer in yourself, but let Jesus Christ live in you in such a way that the virtue of this Divine Savior may be resplendent in all your actions, in order that all may see in you a true portrait of the Crucified and sense the sweetest fragrance of the holy virtues of the Lord, in interior and exterior modesty, in patience, in gentleness, suffering, charity, humility, and in all others that follow.”
These are just some of St. Paul of the Cross’ inspiring words. Which one of these will you adopt as your motto for the month in honor of his feast day?