Your Cross —
the Key to Happiness
It is not difficult to observe the great sufferings of so many people in our affluent society. The sufferings caused by illness, death, the loss of faith of loved ones, financial difficulties, loss of jobs, etc. are just a few that are common among neighbors and acquaintances. Christ calls us all to take up these crosses and offer them to Him to make reparation for our own sins and the sins of the world. St. Francis de Sales has these beautiful words about your cross:
“The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart. This cross He now sends you. He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from Heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.”
Thomas à Kempis has a special way of looking at the crosses we bear in our lives:
“To many the saying, ‘deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me,’ seems hard. How much harder, however, will the words on the Day of Judgment be: ‘Depart from Me, you accursed ones, into the everlasting fire.’ Those who follow the cross willingly now, will not fear the last judgment. When the Lord comes to judge, the Sign of the Cross will be in the heavens; then will those servants of the cross, who in their lifetime made themselves one with the Crucified, draw near with great trust to Christ, the Judge.
“Why are you afraid, then, to take up the cross when through it you can win an eternal kingdom? In the cross is salvation; in it is life; in it is protection from your enemies; in it is strength of mind; in it is joy of spirit; in it is the highest virtue; in the cross is perfect holiness.
“Take up your cross and follow Jesus, and you will merit eternal life.”
Our Lady of Fatima has impressed upon us the importance of accepting and carrying our crosses. She asked the three children, “Would you like to offer yourselves to God to make sacrifices and to accept willingly all the sufferings it may please Him to send you, in order to make reparation for so many sins which offend the Divine Majesty, to obtain the conversion of sinners, and to make amends for all the blasphemies and offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary?” They accepted wholeheartedly. She told them they would have to suffer much, but that She would be there to help them.
Our Dear Mother is there to help us in our necessities, to help us bear our cross. Let us follow the example of Christ and Mary as did the children of Fatima. Let us take up our crosses and ask Our Heavenly Mother to help us.