Saints: October 2006 Archives

He Who Embraces Me Embraces Thorns

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I told you that once, when I had to pass through a heavy storm, I found myself before my sacramental Love and my soul flew in spirit to embrace that Infinite Love exposed on the altar for the adoration of the people. Then I heard my Savior speak this sweet message: “My son, he who embraces me, embraces thorns.” Do you believe, my daughter, that my soul fails to understand that our Jesus is a sea of infinite sweetness? Certainly, I have understood that, but God made me understand something further with the words: “He who embraces me, embraces thorns.” Just as our good Jesus willed that his life on earth should be passed always in the midst of the thorns of pain, sufferings, fatigues, privation, agony, contempt, calumny, sorrow, nails, thorns, and a most bitter death on the cross, so he made me understand that in embracing him, I would have to live my life in the midst of pain. Oh! how my heart exulted and embraced every sort of pain. But I have been unfaithful.
(Saint Paul of the Cross, Letter 54, 29 August 1737)

Saint Paul of the Cross (1694–1775) has long been a favourite of mine. (I rather suspect that Terry over at Abbey–Roads feels the same way about him.) He is depicted in this painting just as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is often shown: in the embrace of Jesus Crucified, with the instruments of the Passion round about him. Paul of the Cross frequently quotes Saint Bernard's writings on the Passion of the Lord.

The Poverello at Abbey–Roads

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My friend Terry at Abbey–Roads has some brilliant posts for today's feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. He says, among other things, that "Francis, in his most authentic image, is an icon of Jesus Crucified. He is in a tattered habit, his side and limbs wounded with the stigmata, his body like gnarled roots, barefoot, trampling the globe representing the world underfoot. He holds a cross, and perhaps a skull, representing the brevity of life and our final end. The authentic image of St. Francis calls us to penance, while urging us to love - to love love, and make love loved."

Do pay Abbey–Roads a visit and be sure to scroll down to the entry for October 3rd on the Transitus of Saint Francis.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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