Journal Notes on Saint Paul of the Cross #30
By Amy Knight
I have told you several times that the Master of prayer is the Holy Spirit, and we must pray as He wishes. So when you feel that your soul enjoys being at rest and all lost in God in a sacred silence of love, let it continue in that way. For if your soul is attentive to God in pure and holy faith, or when it feels an impulse to conduct a colloquy of love or loving discourses on the divine mysteries, or moved to make petitions for its needs and those of one’s neighbor, that it must be allowed to do just that. To sum up, one must follow the loving breath of the Holy Spirit.
In desolation and aridity, one must love the will of God, who wills this, and rejoice in the cross with Jesus Christ, abandoning oneself in all things to the Divine Good Pleasure, and be pleased to be deprived of all satisfaction for the love of God, who is the soul of our happiness. Letter #273
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
The Holy Trinity is the perfect circle of eternal love and through the blood of Christ, the soul that belongs to Christ is brought near into the very circle of love ever-flowing between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For this reason, St Paul of the Cross states, “So when you feel that your soul enjoys being at rest and all lost in God in a sacred silence of love, let it continue in that way. For if your soul is attentive to God in pure and holy faith, or when it feels an impulse to conduct a colloquy of love or loving discourses on the divine mysteries…it must be allowed to do just that.” When the Trinity comes to dwell in a soul,[i] then the soul is meant to soar into the Heavenlies where the Godhead dwells. For at the same time, God is in the soul, and the soul is in God. Said another way—God dwells on the Earth inside the soul, and the soul dwells in Heaven inside the Godhead.[ii] Therefore, do not be surprised when, suddenly, heavenly glory imbibes the soul and catches it up into beautiful discourses of pure love. For this reason, ample time must be given to waiting upon God with an attentive pure heart and holy hunger. Pure-in-heart souls given over to loving God whole-heartedly are a magnet to the Divine Lover and draws Him down into their sphere with loving refrains, adoring worship songs and heavenly poetry. No love story can match the divine love story which is full of mystery, secret trysting places, hours of gazing, and fullness of divine beauty shared.
St Paul of the Cross wisely advises the soul to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and go wherever He leads. He may lead into intercession for other souls, and that place is a place of partnership with God; however, more times than not, He leads the soul into a place of divine adoration of Himself. This adoring is the highest place, for man was created to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; therefore, listen carefully and follow these impulses of love and take time to adore this Beautiful One.
St Paul of the Cross also instructs the soul to love the divine will if He leads it into the desert places of prayer where aridity and lack of any consolation seemingly deprives the soul of His Presence. This dry place is actually not a God-forsaken place, but many times the exact opposite—it is meant to be a place of encounter—such that soul is imprinted with Love in a way that cannot be duplicated. The dry places of prayer are only making ready the soul for the most profound encounter of all. Recall that when Jesus was driven by the Spirit[iii] to go into the desert for forty days of fasting, that He came out “in the power of the Spirit.”[iv] Is it not the times when the soul is the weakest, that His power is the greatest?[v] Therefore, like the Apostle Paul, the soul must “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.”[vi] When suffering dryness in prayer, and seeming abandonment of the Lord, the soul must walk by faith and know that the soul that is formed in the desert, will be the soul that comes out in fullness of the power of the Spirit. Only the desert can rid the soul of the imperfections of the flesh like selfish ambition, pride, envy, and many other defects. Though these desert seasons can be painful, the soul must take courage that it is being prepared for the coming of the King infused into it at profound levels. Let the soul lift up a love song in the desert all the more to the Beautiful One because a song from the desert is more precious to the Lord than a hundred songs in seasons of plenty. The desert love song is a pure song sung in pure faith. This pure faith is highly pleasing to Him since the soul has no consolation itself, and is giving God what He is worthy of, in spite of pain and affliction. Remember, as well, that this desert season will soon come to an end. Let the soul make the most of this forming time and not waste a drop on self-pity or fruitless complaining.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I adore You; I love You; I thank you, for each and every season, whether it be the lush of spring or the desert of winter. You are Good all the time! How I long for that day when we will be together without hindrance of any type. Amen.
[i] John 14:23
[ii] Eph 1:3
[iii] Luke 4:1
[iv] Luke 4:14
[v] 2 Corinthians 12:10
[vi] 2 Corinthians 12:10