Journal Notes on St Paul of the Cross #22
by Amy Knight
Oh! With what filial confidence one would lose self in God, who is the true All, losing sight of all created things in order to be transformed into the Uncreated and Immense God. As much as you can, do not omit to embrace him in the Great Sacrament of his love, and give your heart free reign to pour out it’s affects into this Infinite Love.
Give it full liberty to aspire after the glory which is prepared for you because of the infinite merits of Jesus. Oh! Now is the time to open the way for you to desire, and to desire more ardently, that wonderful paradise where we will be in one eternal feast, incessantly praising our Sovereign Good and without danger of ever losing Him.
When you come forth from your prison with this poor dress of ashes, with the inscription of your nothingness, God, who is all, ordains that, divested of that ashen dress, your soul be clothed with queenly robes, died with the Blood of the Divine Lamb and bejeweled with His divine virtues.
My poor soul is the same as always with greater sharing of crosses, but I embrace them with the grace of Jesus Christ. My greatest desire is to be entirely consumed by the Divine Will. This is what my soul aspires after. L220
Matthew 9:14-15 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Longing, lovesickness, fasting, and prayer are what draws the Bride to the Bridegroom together in love. The common saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true in these days when the Bridegroom is physically not on the earth at this time. Why fervently fast? Why deny the flesh and take up the cross to follow Him? Why go about mourning in lovesickness? For those who belong to Christ, His Spirit resides within, yet He has not returned to the earth; therefore, a groaning of deep longing is present from the depths of being and indeed, “all creation is groaning and labors with birth pangs.”[i] The dominant preoccupation is: “losing sight of all created things in order to be transformed into the Uncreated and Immense God” as said by Saint Paul of the Cross.
The lovesickness of the Bride for the Beautiful Bridegroom God can capture her so much that she completely loses sight of herself. What causes the seraphim to sing a constant refrain of Holy, Holy, Holy[ii] without stopping? Only the One who is Infinite in Beauty and Power and Glory without end can have such an affect on creatures. The soul sees only in part, like in a mirror dimly, but one day sight will be face to face. “When we see Him, we will be like Him.”[iii] Even now, the Beloved One has invited His Bride into the inner circle of the Trinity. By sending His Spirit into her, He has not only drawn near in love, but also has given an open invitation into the fellowship of the Godhead.
When the soul’s gaze is upon Him and His gaze upon the soul, they meet one another in love, and transformation begins. His gaze imparts His character and supernatural virtues into the soul. This loving gaze between Bride and Bridegroom is the place of transforming union for the Bride. In this beautiful meeting, no striving or performance happens; on the contrary, this trysting place is a place where lovers meet and speak promises one to another in deep love. The gaze of love between them is an all-consuming gaze where self is not noticed. This annihilation of self is not difficult because the union with God is everything the soul ever desired. Not only is this possible, but God assures the soul that this is a love that lasts forever. This love is a reality here and now through the decision to gaze upon this Beautiful God-man, and receive His love in return.
In this place of longing, sin falls off like a garment and does not cling anymore to the earthen vessel. Ardent desire for the Bridegroom is the answer to put off the “old-man” and “put-on” the new man in Christ.[iv] If sinful habits are clinging, it’s simply that the soul has not been gazing upon Him to the point where ardent desire for Him takes over thoughts, emotions, affections, and will.[v] Trials and tribulations become a path to greater intimacy and love for He shares the marriage bed of His cross only with His Beloved Bride.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, fix my gaze upon You. Let longing, desire, lovesickness and mourning be my food night and day. I pray that as You search the earth to and fro throughout the whole earth, that Your eyes would rest on me. You would see the YES in my heart toward You and impart to me Your character and infuse into me Your virtues that I might be wholly and completely Yours. Amen
[i] Romans 8:19-22
[ii] Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8
[iii] 1 Corinthians 15:51
[iv] Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:9
[v] Hebrews 12:1-3