|Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing-St. Mary Church Wooster, Ohio|
God wants you to learn to suffer tribulation without comfort and, submitting yourself entirely to Him, to grow in humility through tribulation. No one so deeply feels what Christ endured as one who has had to suffer as He did. The cross is always ready and waits everywhere for you; you cannot escape it no matter where you turn.
Wherever you go, you take yourself with you and you will always meet yourself face to face. Look upward or downward, within yourself or without; everywhere you will find the cross. And everywhere you must be patient if you desire interior peace and to merit a crown in heaven.
If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry you and bring you to your longed-for end, where there will be no more suffering--though this will not happen on earth. If you carry it grudgingly, it will become a burden and a heaver weight for you to carry, and yet you must bear it.
If you reject one cross, be sure that you will find another, perhaps heavier one.
The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chap. 12 No. 4-5.
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us that we should not go looking for additional crosses in life in order to become saints. She tells us to accept the crosses the Lord sends us each day. She also tells us that we cause our own sufferings in life because we do not know ourselves. We think we are stronger than we are and are capable of carrying a heavy cross for the Lord. How many times we fail because of our pride!
St. Therese, the Little Flower, shows us the Little Way that leads to perfection. It's the many little crosses in life that perfect us. Look for the little crosses that come your way today. Perhaps it's encountering a disagreeable person, or a situation that will test your patience, or perhaps it's dryness or lack of consolation in prayer. Accept all of these sufferings and pray for others in the world who carry a heavier cross than yourself.
Do we truly seek the cross? Then we must mortify ourselves. That is the true cross The Imitation of Christ speaks of, Wherever you go, you take yourself with you and you will always meet yourself face to face. Look upward or downward, within yourself or without; everywhere you will find the cross. We have many opportunities each day to die to ourselves with acts of mortification.
St. John of the Cross teaches us that to love Christ is not always to seek the most convenient or easier way of doing things. Our world preaches to us daily of looking for the most convenient method of getting things done, the least painful, the least stressful, the least effort...and so on.
Here is the admonition from St. John:
Strive always to choose, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult; Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasant; Not that which gives most pleasure, but that which gives least; Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome. St. John of the Cross
Let us pray for each other!
Peace be with you!