Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lift High the Cross

The Lord gives us many crosses to bear.  Our crosses are specifically ours.  They are a certain weight, a certain color, and they bring with them their own certain pains.  As intimidating as this might seem these crosses are given to us for the sole sake of carrying something heavy.  They are given to us to teach us, to strengthen us, to share in us the glory of the resurrection.

I don’t know what your crosses are.  They very well could be completely different than mine.  That doesn’t change the fact that we are in community in the fact we are bearing these difficulties together.  While thinking and praying about my weakest moments I realized that one thing always happens amidst those moments; I feel alone.   Feeling alone in and of itself is a cross and when other struggles get stacked on top of it, it can become unbearable. 

You are not alone.

Do not be afraid.

These two phrases are used over and over and over, especially in Catholic circles. Read them again though. 

You are not alone. 

In our weakest moments, the reason we feel we can’t overcome certain struggles is because we can’t overcome any struggles alone.  We need the love of God the Father, we need the strength of God the Son, and we need the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.  My dear brothers and sisters, they are always there, always loving you, always strengthening you, always inspiring you.  When you think that you are completely alone ask the Lord to give you peace.  Come to him in the Eucharist.  Return to union through reconciliation.  Most of all though…

Do not be afraid.

As strong men and women we never want to admit that we are weak.   Through this bravado we also don’t want to admit that we are afraid.  Afraid that we will go through life falling because of the same struggles day in and day out until the day we die with no triumphs.   Afraid that we are going to be judged, especially by those that love us.  Afraid that we are not moving in the right direction.    Afraid that we will never know, let alone fulfill God’s plan for us. 

Do not be afraid.

There must be a reason Scripture as well as the greats such as Blessed John Paul II said it so much.   It’s because we all are afraid.  Some days are better than others but we all have moments of despair.  Trust in the Lord.  He wins. He always wins.  If you let him.  It takes time.  It takes sacrifice.  But it is worth it. It is worth it.  

I’m not just blowing smoke, but truly do I also struggle with these same difficulties.  When the tough gets going…I get ready to get going in the other direction.  I have to remember that if I am walking with my cross, I must be going in the right direction.  This direction is going to make you die to self but it is also going to allow you to rise. 

I’ve found in my own life I am good at pawning off my struggles for a time, but they always come back.  When they do come back they are usually heavier and I am more aggravated.  I was having one of those days after becoming impatient with some of my dear brothers so I texted one of my seminarian brothers on the East coast.  He gave me great comfort and I ask you reading this to find men and women you can relate to.  Share with them your burdens, your fears, and your loneliness and I know that that will lighten your load.  I leave you with the words I was told by him in hopes that it gives you new hope and a new strength.

“The cross is a daily suffering that we must pick up.  The important thing is to not look at the past and add those struggles to the current weight of the cross.  Carry what you have that day and the next day pick up the cross given you then.   God will provide the strength necessary for that to happen.  He won’t abandon if you ask for his grace.  He wants us to carry our cross and carry it to him. “

My dear brothers and sisters, we are pilgrims on a journey home.  Let us lift our crosses in Christian unity and head to Calvary, that through these loving actions we may see the face of God.

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