that everybody has a cross to bear.
Sometimes, we seem to think like that because we see us going through tough time and others not. The truth is the cross is invisible many times and that we can’t see it in others.
Our fallen nature, our propensity to sin… is itself a cross to bear. This certainly touches each of us to some degree.
It’s true that some people have heavier crosses and some, lighter. But we all have crosses.
If one can see himself as an exile on earth, one would recognize he has a cross.
Maybe some do and some don’t, but if afforded to ponder the cross, even Jesus had help with His for our benefit. My mind drifts to a story my parish priest told. A house of nuns took in a homeless man on a freezing night in DC and as he came in the door, they rang the bell and annouced that Jesus was there.
If you have a hard time believing that everybody has a cross to bear …
… It might be that it’s because some people are refusing to bear their crosses.
I forget where in St. Faustina’s Diary I read it, but I remember once she described how various types of people responded to the cross. Some clung tightly nailed to their cross in suffering. Some clung loosely, holding on with rope around their wrists. Some tried dragging their cross behind them and would have let go if they could. Faustina then commented that the souls who clung the most tightly to the cross were the souls who most resembled Jesus.
My words are not exact … The above is definitely not an exact quote and fails even at being a halfway decent paraphrase … But I hope it expresses the point.
(Maybe someone will recognize my muddled attempt at a quote and correct it, meanwhile?)
~~ the phoenix
We used participate in a weekend retreat for couples. Saturday night we would spend up to an hour with each of the couples assigned to us for two on two discussion and prayer. I was amazed at the crosses some people bear and it never shows in their public persona.
I acknowledge that *some *people have crosses – it’s just the reality that we *all *have crosses which perplexes me, especially when in the company of people who are profoundly optimistic, who say that nothing gets them down, and who really, at least on the surface, seem to have “the good life.” I, of course, have one or two particular people in mind when I say this, and I’m sure that these individuals are dealing with something painful in their lives, it’s just the impression that I get.
It especially makes me wonder whether other people see my crosses – and should they see them, or not?
Glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has transformed suffering, a physical evil, into an instrument of salvation by His sorrowful Passion; this is the wisdom of God, who knew that all men would suffer and so brought a greater good out of evil. Bear your crosses patiently and offer them up to the Lord; Catholics who do this are not only optimistic but are in fact filled with the joy of Christ, a joy which the world cannot give. Do not worry about others but focus your gaze upon the Son on the Cross. He suffered and died for you and He has given you the privledge to suffer and die for Him.
find some avenue to engage in regular service to the Church and/or God’s poor, as there is nothing better to put our own sufferings in perspective as being with others in their time of need. Spend time meditating in front of the crucifix or the Blessed Sacrament, on the sorrowful mysteries or with the Passion narrative in the Gospels. that also leads us to the “big picture”. Some of the sappy Christmas movies on TV this time of year are good because they show somebody who seems to be rich, successful yet empty spiritually and emotionally, who “finds the true meaning of Christmas”. Trite stories sometimes, but they do show that every cross is not made of wood, and is not carried where everyone can see it.
People who are profoundly optimistic are that way not only in spite of their cross, but at times even because of it, and you may not know about their cross because they don’t complain about it, but see in every circumstance of life God working in them.
I hear what you say and maybe it’s just me, but if the Father gave His Son a cross and his Son’s Mother a cross and His Son’s best friends crosses, why should I think I am any different?
Satan tries to load our crosses so that we are tempted to put them down and walk away. Crafty old guy, he may sometimes even appear to lighten another’s so that ours look heavier by comparison.
I saw this quote somewhere on the forum and I really do love it. “Joy is not the absence of sorrow but the presence of God.”
There’s been a lot of good observations in this thread – many of which I will take to heart.
This past Sunday my local parish held an Advent retreat. During supper, I decided to sit with a woman who I went through the RCIA process with. Even then I knew she had health complications due to how morbidly obese she is, how heavy she breathes, and the length of time it takes her to express her thoughts. We got to talking about health, finances and Christmas, and she looked me dead in the eye and started talking about how she recently had to make a decision between paying for insurance, her bills, or for her medicine. And right then I saw her cross and the heavy burden she is under.
Let me contrast this story with another acquaintance of mine – a co-worker who I will name Chris. Now, prior to coming back to the Church this past July, I used to go to bars, concerts, and strip clubs until late at night with him. I associated with him so frequently because he has his act together (by certain standards) because he is well-dressed, well-groomed, never any financial problems, always kind and respectable to anyone he meets, tons of friends and connections, married to a lovely, friendly wife, etc. And never a bad day. I wish I could exagerrate, but I’m not.
Now I know we shouldn’t get involved in what crosses other people have to bear or not, but it’s guys like Chris and the attitudes they wear without being Christian that make me look at myself and just wonder.
Been there. Know a number of “Chris” types. Wish I had a dollar for every time my friends and I started a sad conversation with the line “But, he always seemed do happy…”
Happily married and staying out late in bars and strip clubs? No crosses. Yeah, right.
Maybe God is giving Chris a few decades of small crosses because he knows the huge one he will carry tomorrow, or the day after or the next day.
For example, let’s look at one person in the recent news. If you were to look at the life of O.J. Simpson at the height of his football career, there surely was someone with no crosses to bear. Nothing bad is ever going to happen to him. Kind of a huge cross he has now, isn’t it?
Jealousy is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons because it makes us play the “poor me” game. I know from personal experience how damaging that can be. If it helps, take your issues with “Chris” before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Dump on Him. He has big shoulders. He will help you carry your “Chris” cross and give you peace.
we are committing the deadly error of judging the internal state of an individual by outward appearances. I also have known at least two people like “Chris” described above who committed suicide, for no discernable reason.
You simply do not know what others have to bear in life, and physical illness or disability and lack of material needs are NOT the heaviest burdens people deal with.
We all have crosses, and even though we may look at someone else’s and think it isn’t much, its likely to be as much as they can bear. As St Therese indicated, a thimble that is full is as full as a bucket that is full, ie, they’re both as full as they can be.
Some people keep their troubles to themselves, but if you happen to find out you can be shocked at how much difficulty and suffering some people have borne. That is the difference, those who we believe to have no crosses just haven’t revealed them to us.
Judge you, my brother?
Our God, eternity waits for those who live the gospel to truly share in Your delight in each person. With You, we will rejoice in everyone who accepts Christ’s invitation to follow Him with prayer, penance and generosity!
**How profound is the giving required by that person, and this! What happiness, what anguish is known there! What temptation is encountered! What sensitivities enfeeble or enrich and sanctify that life! How great is Your glory in the strange or ordinary facts and struggles of their existence! Yet, how can we know? **
We err in applying rules of private interpretation to another’s intention or act, except as feeble measure for our compassion and charity. Only by one’s private consciousness—unless enlightened by Your Spirit of love—can each see what lies in another’s soul.
Each person is a unique expression of Your love, an individual world, some great, and some miniature, separate in existence and consciousness, yet united in You. Yet how quickly do we judge each other! We offer You our hurt and theirs in prayer for healing and forgiveness.
Let us not belittle or betray, in thought, or by gossip—the seemingly sinful, the apparently misled or foolish, the ugly, the crippled in mind or spirit. Let us celebrate their preciousness in You. Let us no longer sin against Your sacred love and creation in anyone by our judgements however seemingly justified.
Let Your Holy Spirit know and love each other person through us, with sensitivity to their emerging needs. Give us compassion for each other, however perplexed or inaccurate our perception, so that we revere each other—and ourselves—as individuals sacred to You.
Through Your Spirit, we can offer appreciation, justice and love to each other as we wait humbly on the full vision of Your meaning, purpose, and love of each person, in the final translation that follows death. Let us serve and intercede for each other person as loved child of God, in glad, trusting welcome. 1981
My dear, I love you,
but the reasons matter not.
One cannot argue with the fact of love
which is entirely of the stuff of God.
Yet, my dear, we sometimes seem estranged!
my thought and heart have failed to closely match your own
and we leave each other alien for a while–
or wounded for life–
though both are imaged in love of the same eternal God!
The wonder perhaps is that we meet at all
for each created being is possessed of logic,
of identity unique within itself
which only appears reflected in others’ lives and thoughts
for none can know or judge but by a private consciousness.
Each soul remains hidden within divine Love’s mysteries
manifest in wondrous individual expression.
It is a whole world, formed and blessed,
and burdened with heavy crosses, perhaps?
a world in value, goodness and giving apparently slight?
yet perhaps its’ all–the sum of what God grants it
for His own secret delight!
After death many surprises await,
of treasure buried in simple human hearts
concealed perhaps in ugly shapes, foolish deeds and ordinary lives
and in lives that others might choose to brush aside or to crush
as crippled, useless, unbalanced, peculiar, unwanted, subhuman…
He miniaturises His special created delights sometimes–
persons negligible even to themselves.
And it pleases Him that our least ones He shall exalt
before the vast and great and good.
From Him alone
comes union and mutual understanding of souls, minds and hearts.
True comprehension waits upon
the fullness of eternal communion, begun in Eucharist.
Until then I only know, like you, the truths as I allow Him
to speak them in my limited, biased self.
I cannot know and love you, dear, nor you myself,
unless God grants this gift.
This does not mean that I do not love you.
Just that I love the best that I can.
Forgive me all the rest. And I, you too.
I pray for my co-worker Chris – so don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I’m not the happiest, most joyful person in the world (which should be no surprise after all these depressing threads which I start) (but that’s not for a lack of praying for hope and joy in my life) and sometimes I just want to experience the pleasure that Chris displays. Sometimes I just want nothing more than to be the kind, charismatic, popular person with that beautiful wife and no financial problems with an absolute freedom from…
…but then I have to come to my senses and do my best to thank God for what I am and what I am not.
I felt such an emptiness when I spent all my time, energy and money buying drinks and chasing women that it really is no surprise that I came back to the Church where I feel wanted. In a way, I pray that Chris doesn’t feel this same emptiness (cause it appears that he doesn’t) but I also pray for his conversion. I see that, at the root, he is a good guy with a big heart, and I may be just as jealous of that as any crosses which he seemingly does not bear.
Sorry for rambling…