A dolorous love

The more Christ takes hold of your heart, the more you will seek to offer yourself to your Beloved and desire to set aside and be purified of all that gets in the way of that union. In this, daughters, you will seek to make the sufferings of the Beloved your own and to immerse yourself in the furnace of his love through the crosses you bear. Joy will be found in your sorrow because it will increasingly be filled with the presence of Christ. Let the Beloved become everything for you and fear not to lose yourself completely in Him or to experience your nothingness. Yet, remember, such love is to be kept hidden as are all things delicate and intimate.

Our sweet Jesus has pierced your heart so deeply with the thorns of His sorrows that you will say henceforth: To suffer and not to die! or else: To suffer or to die! or better still: Neither to suffer nor to die, but entire submission to the good pleasure of God. Love has a unitive quality, and makes the sufferings of the beloved its own. If you feel yourself penetrated interiorly and exteriorly with the sufferings of your divine Spouse, rejoice; but I may say this joy is experienced only in the furnace of divine love, for the fire which burns into the marrow of the bones transforms the loving soul into the object of her love; and there, love and sorrow are so sublimely blended that the one can no longer be distinguished from the other, and the loving soul rejoices in her sorrow, and finds her happiness in her dolorous love. Persist in the study of your nothingness, and be faithful in the practice of virtue, above all the imitation of our sweet Savior in His patience, for this is the cardinal point of pure love. Never neglect to offer yourself as a holocaust to the infinite goodness of God. This sacrifice ought to be made in the fire of divine charity; light it with a bouquet of myrrh, that is, with the sufferings of your Savior. All this should be done behind closed doors, that is apart by yourself, in pure and simple faith.

St. Paul of the Cross



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