Vocation Discernment Retreat Weekend

Advent: Consider the Infinite Goodness of God

During Holy Advent humble yourself the more in considering the infinite goodness of God, who wished to reduce himself to our humanity, concealing himself in the unblemished womb of the Immaculate Virgin. Love this Infinite Good with the sweetest heart of the great Lady, Mary Most Holy. God will teach you.
(From a letter of St. Paul of the Cross to Agnes Grazi, October 28, 1734)

Holy Indifference

"It is necessary to keep oneself in a holy indifference toward all happenings, and to allow all anxiety and solicitude to die, for they are the occasions for most of your useless thoughts.  Let them die, I say, in the Divine Good Pleasure, rejoicing in God with the higher part of your soul, and let things happen as they happen.  'Lord,' said the heart of a great saint, 'let all things happen as they happen.'  If you will do this, you will be at peace, in tranquility, and in a profound recollection without taking the least care beyond the single pleasure of God, keeping your heart turned toward heaven so that the strong winds of human surroundings and temptation cannot upset you." (From a letter of St. Paul of the Cross to Marianna Girelli, September 24, 1768)

Solemnity of St. Paul of the Cross

"I would like to tell you some important things, . . . . The language required is learned only from love.  Listen to the divine Lover and let Him teach it to you. . . . I want to be on fire with love, more and more.  How I wish that we were so aflame with love that all who came near us would catch fire, not only our neighbors but total strangers, all tribes and tongues and nations, in a word, all creatures, so that all would know and love the supreme Good."  (From a letter of St. Paul of the Cross)

September 15: Our Lady of Sorrows, Patroness of our Congregation and our Monastery

 “I recommend to you a strong, constant devotion to Mary, our most holy and sorrowful virgin.  Think often of her and sympathize with her in her sufferings.  Then, this loving mother, who is never outdone in kindness will in turn comfort you.

Pour out your heart to her.  Speak to her of your trials and your needs.  Commend your family to her, and the important concern of your soul. . . . How much we cost her! . . . She chose that her own beloved Son should die bleeding on the cross rather than that we should be forever lost."

(From a letter of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, CP)

September 14: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

"When you pick up the crucifix to kiss it and offer acts of love, cast yourself into the great sea of God's lovas soon as you have finished your devotion.  In pure faith and without images, enter through the door of the most pure heart of Jesus.  Within that great Holy of Holies, throw everything into the bottomless abyss of God's endless charity.  Rise up to the contemplation of God's infinite greatness, beauty and riches." (St. Paul of the Cross)

Confidence and Peace in God

 "If you fall not merely seven times, but even ten and a hundred, you are not to lose your peace and confidence in God, but humble yourself sweetly with a loving sorrow and a sorrowing love.  A word or two is sufficient; God will teach you.  Here is the short way to consume imperfections.  Say that you are drawn by God to interior recollection in that divine solitude and sacred silence of faith and love, rich with every good.  Then you find yourself wounded by some imperfection or dissipation of spirit.  Then why not flee immediately into the bosom of the Highest Good with a loving flight of faith, losing yourself entirely in God with a loving and peaceful sorrow and allowing what is imperfect to be consumed in that immense furnace of charity?  Acting in this way, not only are the imperfections consumed, but also you are reborn in the Divine Word, Christ Jesus, to a new godlike life, and the soul is divinized."  (From a letter of St. Paul of the Cross to Sister Maria Innocenza of the Sorrowful Mother, November 5, 1757)

Our Dear Jesus Could Do Nothing More!

When you approach the sacred altar, let your greatest aim in doing so be that your souls may ever more and more be dissolved in his holy love.  Oh! dearest ones, I say nothing to you about preparation, for I think you do what you can.  Remember, it is a question of performing one of the holiest possible actions.  Our dear Jesus could do nothing more than to give himself to us as food.  Then let us love this dear Lover and be very devout toward the Blessed Sacrament (From a letter of St. Paul of the Cross to his brothers and sisters, February 21, 1722).

Listen to the Sermons of the Flowers

When you take your solitary walks, listen to the sermons of the flowers, the trees, the bushes, the heavens, the sun, and all the world.  You will find they preach of love and praise of God, and invite you to magnify the greatness of the Sovereign Artist, who gave them being.

(From a letter of Saint Paul of the Cross to Francis Appiani, July 16, 1738)

Saint Gemma Galgani

"We are disciples of this Jesus who suffered so much.  It is not enough to look at the cross, or wear it, we must carry it in the depth of our heart.  Together, let us visit Jesus Crucified.  Let us look at him; he is lifted up on the cross.  If Jesus is nailed there, let us not complain if we must stand at his feet.  My poor Jesus!  I wish I had a heart composed of all the hearts that love you most, so that I might show you my sympathy and help you." 
(Saint Gemma Galgani)


“Let us then sing in company of the Blessed Citizens: Alleluia—Praise the Lord! Oh! What a victorious word that is!  This is the song of praise sung by the victorious citizens of paradise.  Alleluia is not a sound found on earth; it is a hymn of paradise.  To sing it one needs to be despoiled of one’s old self and clothed with the new self, who is Jesus Christ, that is adorned with the holy virtues, for the acquiring of which our great and victorious Captain Jesus Christ paved the way.  To him we sing Alleluia forever” (St. Paul of the Cross).

See How Much He Loves You!

When you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently, tell it to preach you a little sermon, and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood.  Oh, what an eloquent sermon!
(St. Paul of the Cross)

The Contemplative Passionist Life