The Daily Cross
Presence of God – O Jesus Crucified, help me, by the merits of Your Cross, to carry my cross daily.
“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 of special 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 occurrence 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 does 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).
“I see You, O Jesus, my Guide, raising the standard of the Cross and saying lovingly to me: ‘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 myself wholly 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. St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, Spirituality of St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus).
“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. St. Teresa of Jesus, Life, 11).
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Art: Wooden crosses near the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre Church, own work, Adiel Lo, October 2006, Permission: other versions, Category H; Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.