St Paul of the Cross (Feast: October 19)

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St Paul of the Cross  (Feast: October 19)

“It is an excellent and holy practice to call to mind and meditate on our Lord’s Passion, since it is by this path that we shall arrive at union with God. In this, the holiest of all schools, true wisdom is learned, for it was there that all the saints became wise.” St Paul of the Cross

Biographer St Vincent Strambi observed just 11 years after Paul’s death that the Holy Spirit raised the saint up to help people find God in their heart. Distinguished as one of the great mystics of the Church who preached reparation and devotion to the Passion of Jesus Christ throughout Italy, his austere lifestyle, filled with sacrifices and penances, encouraged others to make reparation to God for their own sins.

Paul spent many hours in prayer and adoration before Jesus crucified and received astonishing mystical gifts, graces and consolations, including a share in the beatific vision of Christ. He experienced visions of our Lord and the Blessed Virgin, but more extraordinarily, he also experienced visions of souls in Purgatory who were permitted to come into his cell and tell him of their sufferings. The Saint possessed extraordinary power over the devil to which his many miracles attest.

Paul was moved by God to form a community who would live an evangelical life and promote the love of God revealed in the Passion of Jesus. He received the habit in a vision of the Blessed Virgin: a long, black tunic on the front of which was a heart surmounted by a white cross, and in the heart was written “Passion of Jesus Christ”. In 1725 Paul founded, and was elected the first Superior General of the “Congregation of Discalced Clerks of the Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord” commonly known today as the Passionists.

In his many travels preaching missions and creating foundations of his Passionist Order, he carried with him a large wooden crucifix in honour of our Lord’s Passion, and thus he became known by the popular name of “Paul of the Cross”. His body lies in the Basilica of SS. John and Paul, Rome. A statue fashioned by Italian sculptor Ignazio Jacometti is erected high up in the west wall of the right transept of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

If this feast day you should pass a Passionist do wish him Happy Feast and thank him for the enormous blessing of his founder!