Presence of God
O Jesus Crucified, help me, by the merits of Your Cross, to carry my cross daily.
I. "He that taketh not up his cross, and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me" (Mt. 10, 38). By these words, the divine Master expressly declares that one of the indispensable conditions for being His disciple is to carry the cross. The word cross, however, should not make us think only ofspecial sufferings, which, while not excluded, are not generally our portion. First of all, we must think of those common daily disagreeable things which are part of everyone’s life and which we must try to accept as so many means to progress and spiritual fruitfulness.
It is often easier to accept, in a burst of generosity, the great sacrifices and sufferings of singular occurence, than the little, insignificant sufferings, closely connected with our state of life and the fulfillment of our duty: sufferings which occur daily under the same form, with the same intensity and insistence, among endless and unchanging circumstances. These may include physical ailments caused by poor health, economic restrictions, the fatigue attendant upon overwork or anxiety; they may be moral sufferings resulting from differences of opinion, clash of temperaments, or misunderstandings. Herein lies the genuine cross that Jesus offers us daily, inviting us to carry it after Him—an unpretentious cross, which does not require great heroism, but which docs demand that we repeat our Fiat every day, meekly bowing our shoulders to carry its weight with generosity and love. The value, the fruitfulness of our daily sacrifices comes from this unreserved acceptance, which makes us receive them just as God offers them to us, without trying to avoid them or to lessen their weight. "Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight" (Mt. 11, 26).
II. Jesus calls our sufferings a cross because the word cross signifies instrument ofsalvation; and He does not want our sorrows to be sterile, but to become a cross, that is, a means of elevating and sanctifying our souls. In fact, all suffering is transformed, changed into a cross as soon as we accept it from the hands of the Savior, and cling to His will which transforms it for our spiritual advantage. If this is true for great sufferings, it is equally true for the small ones; all are part of the divine plan, all, even the tiniest, have been predisposed by God from all eternity for our sanctification. Therefore, let us accept them with calmness, and not allow ourselves to be submerged by things which are unpleasant; let us leave them where they belong, in the place they really occupy in the divine plan, that is, among the instruments by means of which we can attain our ideal ofsanctity and union with God. Ifthese annoyances are an evil because they make us suffer, they are also a good, because they give us an opportunity of practicing virtue; they purify us and bring us near to the Lord. However, to understand the value of the cross is not equivalent to bearing it; we need fortitude as well. If we let ourselves be guided by Jesus, He will certainly give it to us and will support us in our daily struggles and sufferings, leading us by the path He Himself has chosen, and to the degree of sanctity He has determined for each one of us. We must have an immense confidence, advance with our eyes closed, and forget ourselves completely. We must accept the cross which Our Lord offers us and carry it with love. If, with the help of grace, we succeed in sanctifying all our daily sufferings, great and small, without losing our serenity and confidence, we shall become saints. Many souls are discouraged at the thought of suffering, and try in every way to avoid it because they do not have enough confidence in the Lord, and are not fully convinced that all is planned by Him, down to the last detail, for their real good. Every suffering, whatever its dimensions, always conceals a redemptive, a sanctifying grace; and this grace becomes ours from the moment we accept the suffering in a spirit of faith, for love of God.
"I see You, O Jesus, my Guide, raising the standard of the Cross and saying lovingly to me: 1 Take the cross I hold out to you, and no matter how heavy it seems to you, follow Me and do not doubt. ’ In response to Your invitation, I promise You, O my heavenly Spouse, to resist Your love no longer. I see You as You once made Your way to Calvary, and I long to follow You promptly.
"As a spouse will not be pleasing to her bridegroom if she does not apply herself very diligently to the work of becoming like him, so, O Jesus, my Bridegroom, I resolve, now and forever, to take every care to imitate You and to crucify myselfwholly with You... I shall consider the cloister, my Calvary; the regular observance, my cross; and the three vows, my nails. I do not wish for any consolation except what comes from You, not now, but in heaven; what does it matter whether I live a happy life, so long as I live a religious life. I willingly surrender my heart to affliction, sadness, and labor. I am happy in not being happy, because fasting in this life precedes the eternal banquet which awaits me.
"All this is very little, O my God, to gain You, who contain every good. No trial should seem hard nor should I turn back because of the difficulties I might find; I wish to accept bitterness and all kinds of crosses with readiness" (cf. T.M. Sp).
"O Lord, is there, among all Your works, one which would not be directed toward the greatest good of the soul whom You consider as Yours, since she put herself at Your service, to follow You everywhere, even to the death of the Cross, resolved to help You bear Your burden and never to leave You alone?... I shall trust in Your goodness... Lead me wherever You wish; I no longer belong to myself, but to You. Do with me, O Lord, what You wish; I ask only the grace never to offend You. I want to suffer, O Lord, because You, too, have suffered" (cf. T.J. Life, n).
Topics in this meditation:Crucifixion
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