Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross (USA),
Founder of the Passionist Congregation
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Paul of the Cross. Paul Daneo was born in Ovada, Italy in 1694 and died in Rome in 1775. During his remarkable life, St. Paul not only founded the Passionists but also became one of the most famous preachers of the 18th century. He was a sought-after spiritual guide for lay women and men, priests, bishops, several cardinals and even two Popes! He was a mystic who experienced such a profound and intimate relationship with God that he grew into a compassion and a wisdom that nourished all who knew him.
One of his bits of wisdom that has always challenged me is his deep conviction that everything that comes into our lives comes from the hand of God. He often advised those who came to him due to the suffering in their lives, "accept all as coming from the hands of your loving Father." When suffering touches those we love or tragedy strikes us, it is so difficult for us to understand what’s happening. Often enough we even wonder how a loving God could let such a thing happen to us. St. Paul of the Cross, as a result of his long hours of contemplating the passion of Jesus, advises us to accept everything, even our greatest sufferings, as from the hands of our loving Father.
What great faith such a conviction requires. St. Paul of the Cross lived out this deep conviction of God’s presence in his life and his example and teaching invite us to pray that God give us such faith as well. May the passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director the Development Office for Holy Cross Province and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago.