Journal Notes on St Paul of the Cross #19
by Amy Knight
Nothing except sin can take us away from God. All the contradictions and persecution from men and demons cannot take an inch from the Highest Good. If we are faithful, these trials help to unite us more closely with His Divine Majesty. I would wish that you do not let your heart be moved an inch, and that you would not be upset by the events taking place. God is permitting them for your great good that you may learn to deprive yourself more and more of every affection for earth and to die to all that is not God. L208
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Oh! If we only understood this principle that hardships and trials are all for our benefit in Christ! If we could settle our soul in the ground of God founded on His unshakeable Rock, with the sure faith as the nutrient in the soil of the ground in our soul, then nothing could cause us to waver. Our love for God and His love for us would only deepen with every wave of distress, for He is for us. His desire is toward us in pure love and eternal joy is a sure thing in our future, even in this life.
Once we know this truth and settle it in our heart then we can be so courageous in our prayer and outward expression of love toward God and others. Simply nothing can separate us from Him except sin! How then shall we live? Let us be sober-minded, leaning on our Beloved, asking for the daily Bread of His Presence in our life. He has promised us this daily Bread, this Sustenance which is Him. This Bread of His Presence gives us daily strength and power to overcome every sin.
How did the Lord teach us to pray? “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts. As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation. But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”[i] This prayer lays out for us a clear path, that if we walk this path, we will not stumble so as to fall. Why? Because we begin by exalting God and lifting Him up, asking for His will to be done on earth (that includes us on the earth). He desires that what is heavenly be made manifest on the earth. This Bread that is Him, for He was sent as the Bread that came from Heaven,[ii] can be made manifest in us as we appropriate Him. We must eat our daily Bread.
This prayer is speaking of more than our daily food to survive, though God cares about that. He desires that we are infused with Himself, the super-substantial Bread. For if we have this Bread, then what will keep us from God? Can anything separate us? Only sin can separate us, and if we eat the Bread from Heaven then we have power to forgive those who have sinned against us. We will not be tempted to retaliate, but instead, look to Jesus and the Cross, and begin to appropriate the prayer of Jesus from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”[iii] This is why in the Lord’s prayer that He says to forgive, because as we forgive, we will be delivered from the temptation to take matters into our own hands and sin against our brother. The enemy wants us to fall into the trap of retaliation so that sin will be there as a dividing wall between us and the Lord. But He is able to give us this super-substantial Bread that has power, for it says, “…Yours is the kingdom and power and the glory.”
He is the Word and we must eat Him, appropriate Him, digest Him. Ezekiel was told to eat the scroll[iv], as well as John the Apostle[v]. What is this scroll? This scroll is God’s Word manifest in and through those who eat it. His Word is so sweet, though it may cause bitter trials in our depths because the Lord is out to kill us—that is, remove everything in us that hinders Love. We must go the way of the Cross, just as He did. This path is painful, but also fruitful. It is the hardest thing we will ever do, but His yoke is light and His burden easy.[vi]
We must daily eat this Word which is more than daily Bible reading, and more than taking Communion at church. We must pray-read the Word; interact with the Word; digest the Word; listen to the Word; converse with the Word.
When we take Communion, we must remember His Blood that was shed and His Body that was broken for us. To the Father, the Cross happened as if it was two days ago since “…one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day.”[vii] This sacrifice is fresh and new; it’s real, and it’s an eternal fountain flowing. We need to get under Cross and receive the “washing of water by the Word”[viii] and the blood that flows from His side which is ever flowing and ever washing and making new. Let us remain at the foot of His Cross and receive the graces of John the Apostle and Mary. What could be higher than to be loved like John, and to be one fully disposed to Him like Mary?
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that You are the super-substantial Bread from Heaven that desires to feed us supernaturally. Let us appropriate You, eat You, take You in, digest You. May we become what we eat! Manifest Yourself in us and through us to the world. Amen.
[i] Matthew 6:9-13
[ii] John 6:58
[iii] Luke 23:34
[iv] Ezekiel 3:1-3
[v] Revelation 10:9
[vi] Matthew 11:29
[vii] 2 Peter 3:8
[viii] Ephesians 5:26