Taking Up Our Cross

Today our priest says if we are to be good Christians we must, as Jesus does, accept that

suffering is an integral part of life. Who has not been deeply disappointed for not landing a coveted job? How about the sadness when a loved one becomes ill or dies?

Further, most of us chafe at life’s unfairness when we are misunderstood or blamed for

something that is not our fault. If we become bitter about negative events, we may lose self-confidence and a zest for life. Simple joys may no longer even be noticeable. For example, how many times have you driven to work on a beautiful fall day but not noticed the changes in the leaves or the fresh smell in the air because you are dwelling

on a problem? In addition, your partner or spouse may feel deeply, the weight you are carrying, striving to handle their own stress and support you also!  In short, we may become overly focused on what is wrong in our lives and lose  gratitude over events that are going well. We become our smaller self, like the husband who cannot sleep (in some commercials) due to a bad cold. Guess what? His poor wife cannot sleep

either because he wants her to share his misery.  Over time she may resent him for not taking up his own cross. As Anthony Mello used to say, awareness of our words and actions are key. Naturally, we can share our burdens with others, but feeling sorry for

oneself and loudly complaining is not Jesus-like.

We all share daily mini-deaths. For example, a persistent back pain, migraines and upset

stomachs is the lot of many. Perhaps your child is heading off to school for the first time or your grown daughter is leaving home for university. Maybe a friend moves away to another city.  These are difficult things to accept but we must let go.

Remember that we will leave things unfinished despite the egos’ drive to accomplish.

It is important that we follow God’s will as best we can. Then we may say “I wish I could do more but realize we have little control over the length of our days on earth. Moreover, we may be surprised at times at good things that occur amongst the bad. You visit someone with dementia thinking I am spending time here but he/she does not appear to be paying much attention to my presence. Moments later they say “do you have to leave already?” This is a little gift from God. God knows our intention to love the other.

Finally, let us pray that God will give us the courage and fortitude to deal with our daily crosses

as Jesus does. When I pray, I almost always feel a little more support from God even  if it is for a short time. Hence, pausing to think about God during a busy day is praying with our bodies, remembering that not only does life have daily deaths but it has resurrections too. Ultimately, Jesus overcomes death and we too will join others in the final resurrection.

I feel inspired by R. Rolheiser as I write this .



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