Journal Notes on Saint Paul of the Cross #29
by Amy Knight
You have certainly taught me that the most efficacious means to exterminate vice and plant true piety is meditation on the bitter pains of our Divine Savior. Since the greater part of the faithful live in forgetfulness of how much our Divine Savior did and suffered, they drowse in a horrible swamp of iniquity. It is in order to arouse them from this detestable lethargy that’s zealous workers, truly poor in spirit and detached from all that is created, with the trumpet of the divine word and by meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, may reawaken these poor sinners, who are seated in darkness and the shadow of death, so that God may be glorified in the number of souls converted and in many others who will give themselves to the practice of holy prayer and, thereby, to a holy life. Letter #266
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
What is the pathway to a holy life filled with eternal fruitfulness? The principle of “what we behold, we become” can be applied and lead to Life eternal. What more direct route to the summit of Divine Love exists than to gaze upon Christ-crucified such that death overtakes the soul and all of its wily-ways and vices? Resurrection cannot be a reality until death has truly and finally happened.
Gazing upon Christ-crucified brings a fresh revelation of the “swamp of iniquity” that is ours by human nature. How are we to become “poor in spirit and detached from all that is created” unless the eyes of the soul are opened and perceive the pigpen of the human plight? Trying to clean oneself inside the pigpen is no more than taking a bath in mud. In order to be truly cleansed, one must get out of the pigpen and under the Cross of Christ.
The foot of the Cross is the cleansing fountain of Life. As the soul gazes up at this One who took on all the sin absorbing every bit of the deadly disease, the drops of Blood become the fount that cleanses to the innermost place in the soul as well as the outermost place in the created universe. His Blood is so pure, so holy, so powerful that one drop can make clean the most detestable in the pigpen of this life.
The remedy of gazing at Christ-crucified is so simple that anyone can do it, but few take Him up on the offer to be at the foot of the Cross. Of all that followed Him, only a handful are seen at the foot of the Cross in the end. Those who were present saw the fount open up from His holy side where His Bride came forth while He “slept” on the Cross. This last Adam gave birth to His Beloved Bride and those who were found waiting received the first measure of this eternal grace.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, may we take You up on the offer that still stands. May we be found watching and waiting at the foot of Your Cross unto total transformation from the inside out.