Monday, October 02, 2006

Embracing the Cross

"In life we all have our crosses to bear", an anonymous blogger writes. "How can we embrace these crosses instead of resenting them? It is a bit difficult to say 'Thank you Lord for my becaming paralyzed and not being able to live the way I used to.' Sorry if I sound sarcastic." Thanks for your question, Anon. You can check out some of what I've written about suffering by looking at my post from August 1, 'Why does God allow suffering?'

But, the writings of the saints are much better than mine, especially when it comes to embracing the Cross. The following are excerpts from "The Way of the Cross according to the method of Saint Francis of Assisi". These are some of his profound meditations on the stations of the Cross. To view the full text, please go to http://feastofsaints.com/waycrossfrancis.htm

"O most merciful Jesus, with a contrite heart and penitent spirit, I bow down in profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my supreme Lord and Master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my Supreme and Only Good. I resolve to amend my life, and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy Passion in company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Thy honor and saving my soul...

"When our divine Savior beheld the cross, He most willingly stretched out His bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, and tenderly kissed it, and placing it on His bruised shoulders, He, although almost exhausted, joyfully carried it...

"O my Jesus, I cannot be Thy friend and follower, if I refuse to carry the cross. O dearly beloved cross! I embrace thee, I kiss thee, I joyfully accept thee from the hands of my God. Far be it from me to glory in anything, save in the cross of my Lord and Redeemer. By it the world shall be crucified to me and I to the world, that I may be Thine forever...

"Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His cross, and Jesus accepted his assistance. How willingly would He also permit you to carry the cross: He calls, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you decline. What a reproach, to bear the cross reluctantly!

"O Jesus! Whosoever does not take up his cross and follow Thee, is not worthy of Thee. Behold, I join Thee in the Way of Thy Cross; I will be Thy assistant, following Thy bloody footsteps, that I may come to Thee in eternal life. ------ Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!...

"Jesus did not descend from the cross but remained on it until He died. And when taken down from it, He in death as in life, rested on the bosom of His divine Mother. Persevere in your resolutions of reform and do not part from the cross; he who persevereth to the end shall be saved. Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body and blood of Christ in the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar...

"Almighty and eternal God, merciful Father, who hast given to the human race Thy beloved Son as an example of humility, obedience, and patience, to precede us on the way of life, bearing the cross: Graciously grant us that we, inflamed by His infinite love, may take up the sweet yoke of His Gospel together with the mortification of the cross, following Him as His true disciples, so that we shall one day gloriously rise with Him and joyfully hear the final sentence: 'Come, ye blessed of My Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning,' where Thou reignest with the Son and the Holy Spirit, and where we hope to reign with Thee, world without end. Amen."

6 Comments:

At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Greg;

What do you think of the book "The courage to be Chaste" by Benedict Groeschel?

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be
changed in ways you can’t imagine.
Kathleen Norris

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This continues the previous discussion of Fr. Greg's reference to "the dark night of the soul." For some people, the dark night spans their entire lifetime. God does not always intervene and bring the morning. How can anyone who has their feet in reality NOT admit that suffering is pervasive, random, and without reason? And it's unfair - some escape it for the most part and for others it is their daily life. I don't believe, and it's not for lack of trying.

 
At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

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At 9:30 AM, Anonymous searching for holiness said...

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At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #3
I agree with all of your comments. Why do some people suffer so much and others only encounter minimal suffering. Life does seem "unfair!" Why do some people lose a child-the worst grief possible? I don't think we will ever know the why on this side of heaven. When I am suffering, I stopped asking "why" and started asking "what." What do you want me to do Lord? What is your will for me in this situation? The why question leaves me stuck in neutral because it is a mystery for now. The what question will help you to pick up your cross and walk with it.

 

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