One Day at a Time

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.

“And take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

We get all caught up in future tense, don’t we? What if tomorrow … ? Or next week, or next year, or … I’ll share a little story here, told me by my Grandad years ago. It goes like this …

During the Great Depression my grandparents set up housekeeping in an empty cabin in the woods. They didn’t have much, but they did have a cured ham which my Grandad hung from a rafter, trying to keep critters away from it if any got in the house. Well, one day my Grandad came home to find Grandma setting on the side of the bed, holding their new baby, their first, in her arms bawling her eyes out. So Grandad asked her what was wrong. She said: “One day Naomi (the new baby girl) is gonna be all grown up and she’ll get married and have a baby of her own. And she’ll bring the baby over to visit and it’ll be playin’ on the floor …. SNIFFLE! SOB! … And, and that rope ‘ll break and the ham ‘ll fall on the baby and kill it!”

Well, now you know something about the folks that raised me. 🙂 Anyway, this meditation is short, direct and to the point …

“Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … The last time you worried about tomorrow, what changed? I mean other than the loss of today? Jesus never asked anyone to carry tomorrows cross today.

 

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Denial

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.

“If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself.” Luke 9:23.

Denial. It comes in various packages. There’s the denial that refuses to honestly admit the obvious. The Pharisees practiced this sort of denial when confronted by the Messiah. He didn’t fit their preconceived mold. And then there was Peter’s denial. His denial consisted of a lie. Better to play it safe. I’m sure there are others, different types, reasons, and excuses. But its still denial.

Then there’s the denial that Jesus asks for here. Its the only form of denial that counts in a positive way. Self denial. Its like taking up a cross and following Christ. Willingly. And self denial is a cross. It means by passing certain things, giving up others, and tempering some. It means giving up my will and choosing his instead.

Its not easy. Its hard. To set the flesh and the mind aside. Actually, its more than just hard, its impossible for us to do alone and on our own. But we’re not alone. We’re told that we can do all things through him who strengthens us. That matters settled. But we aren’t settled, are we? We give ourselves to him, but somewhere deep inside something is held back. Or we give ourselves to him and then, maybe just a minute or two latter, take it all back.

There’s more to carrying a cross than just picking it up and walking. If that’s all there was to it anyone could do it. But when Jesus carried his cross what sort of example did he give us? He fell, didn’t he? And he got up again. More than once. And he accepted help. So we’ll give him our life and take it back, we’ll fall. A real Christian falls and gets up again. And again, and again. As many times as it takes to reach that perfection God has in store for us. You’ll remember that we’re told Jesus fell three times. I’ve wondered if he fell more than three times and its just that we’re only told about the three. I don’t know. I just know he’s our example.

“For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil.” Proverbs 24:16.

Just a thought … In the Old Testament the number 7 denotes perfection. Like in the above verse. Now that doesn’t always mean flawless. I’ve said before that you can set a coffee cup down on a completed jigsaw puzzle and leave a ring, a coffee stain. Its no longer flawless, but its still perfect in the sense that its complete. Don’t beat yourself up over falling. Just get up. As many times as it takes. And don’t play an April Fools prank on yourself, don’t practice that “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” form of denial, like you can do it all by yourself. What do you think the rest of us are here for?

Destination

A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.

“And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha.” John 19:17, Douay-Rheims.

We all have crosses, don’t we? And sometimes we dwell on them. That’s normal up to a point. Its OK to be human. It may as well be OK because we’re going to be human regardless. A lot of attention is paid to crosses. Maybe not so much attention is paid to what they do for us. We’re to intent on what they do TO us. So lets pay attention to something other than the cross and what its doing to us for just a minute. Lets look instead at what it does FOR us, where it takes us.

Destination. We all live and die and do what we do in between but very few seem to think much about the journeys end. Oh, I’m not talking about death here. That’s too obvious. I’m talking about our destination here in this life as we carry our cross. The ends we come to in our earthly journey. I say “ends” plural because laying down one cross at the place it takes us to usually means we pick up another and head for the next destination, the one this new cross is meant to carry us to.

The destination it (our current cross) is meant to carry us to. You see, its not just that we carry crosses. Its that they carry us as well. They carry us on to our next destination, our next stop in this life. They carry us because they create the circumstances needed to prod us on. Where would we be without them? Jesus’ cross took him to Calvary. Where would we be without his? Your cross might take you to hospital, or to court, or to any number of things, people, places, and situations. Lots of destinations aren’t anymore comfortable than the cross itself. But try not going to hospital when you need to, or stay away from court regardless the subpoena. What’s that get us? Where does that get us? It gets us crosses that could’ve been avoided. Some we need to get us from here to there. Others we pick up all on our own.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24, Douay-Rheims.

Jesus’ cross was necessary, it was needed. Maybe a hospital cross or court cross is something necessary and needed for us. Maybe we need to go where they take us.

No kind crosses … Friday, September 13

Carring of the Cross

Carring of the Cross.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. Crosses. They seem to be never-ending, don’t they? I’ve heard tell that there were lots of them in Jesus’ day too. Historically the landscape seems to have been literally filled with them, the crucifixion of criminals and political dissidents being an ongoing Roman tradition. We think of this as being barbaric, but when compared with gas chambers, lethal injection and all the rest, is there really a kind way to kill someone? The fact is, there are no kind crosses. There is no escaping them either. Think of being nailed to one. How do you get away from that? You don’t. But we try, don’t we? Which is normal enough. God doesn’t ask us to be masochistic. But He does ask us to pick ours up, to carry it. Being nailed to it? That’s not our job, its His. It’s enough for us to carry one (or more). We’ll suffer bruised knees when we fall (and we will fall), with battered and torn shoulders from the beams tearing into our flesh. We recognize that these things tend to strengthen us. But there is one simple, straightforward benefit, a reward that comes from carrying any cross that gets overlooked at times. Simply put, we’re doing what He did. And that should be benefit and reward enough.

Today … St. Amatus was a Benedictine abbot and hermit, also called Ame. He was born into a noble family of Grenoble, France, and placed into St. Maurice Abbey as a small child. After becoming a Benedictine monk, Amatus lived as a hermit, going to Luxueil Monastery in 614. St. Eustace, one of his mentors, advised this assignment. While in Luxueil, Amatus converted a Merovingian noble named Romaric. This convert founded a double monastery in 620, and Amatus became its first abbot.

Friday the 13th … Superstitious? Ever watch or read the news? Let me tell you something. All that bad news is often only one thing. A way to get your attention so that you’ll tune in to T.V. news or buy the paper. And they reason “they” want you to tune in or buy is because big ratings and lots of subscribers means one thing. Big money selling advertising. It’s like a superstition. You can make yourself miserable watching out for black cats and tossing salt over your shoulder. You can make yourself miserable buying into commercial hype too. My point? Don’t take on unnecessary crosses offered to you by the world. They’re silly and useless. God knows what He’s doing when He gives you a real one. The rest? Let them be carried by the advertising industry.

Getting out from under … Tuesday, August 27

St. Augustine, Florida: Mission Nombre de Dios...

Crosses. They come in different sizes, they’re made of different materials. These things are secondary. Recognizing crosses, and accepting, embracing, them is what matters most.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “All that crucifies is good: do not look at what wood the crosses are made of, as long as it is a “cross wood.” Great crosses present themselves rarely, little crosses are given to us at every moment. Make sure not to lose any of them.” — BL. EDWARD POPPE. Getting out from under. Out from under crosses that is. You know, for the past several weeks my sciatica has been acting up. Now that’s a cross. Saturday, at Vigil Mass, it was all I could do, about half way through Mass, to stand there. My left foot felt like it was the size of a watermelon, it radiated numbness while the rest of the leg was in acute pain. It was all so pronounced that I got shaky and weak. I felt like I was borderline, and just across the line was passing out. So I watched myself, I was careful, and when I got home I took pills, plural, and laid down. It got better. Sometimes, when something like this happens, I feel almost guilty that I try to get relief. I tend towards scrupulosity and I know it. I mean, didn’t I offer up all my crosses just this morning? And here I am doing everything I can to get out from underneath one. (If you see yourself in any of this read on. If not, you might like to scroll down and just read about today’s saint.) It occurred to me, when I read the above quote, that trying to get some relief from my sciatica is a cross in itself. Its smaller than ongoing sciatica, but it’s still a cross. And because I was feeling guilty (Just a little. I tend to scrupulosity but I’m not stupid.) I was missing the smaller cross. Intent on the sciatica, the type of wood this cross is made from, I was, in trying to ditch the “big” cross, losing the small one. Maybe a cross is just a cross. Maybe size doesn’t matter, maybe it does. My point being that any cross, if recognized and utilized, regardless the size of it or the type of wood, is good if I can recognize it for what it is. And it is a blessing meant to purify me, to get me ready for Heaven, ready to stand in the Presence of the Crucified One.

Today …


 

 

St. Monica

St. Monica was married by arrangement to a pagan official in North Africa, who was much older than she, and although generous, was also violent tempered. His mother Lived with them and was equally difficult, which proved a constant challenge to St. Monica. She had three children; Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. Through her patience and prayers, she was able to convert her husband and his mother to the Catholic faith in 370. He died a year later. Perpetua and Navigius entered the religious Life. St. Augustine was much more difficult, as she had to pray for him for 17 years, begging the prayers of priests who, for a while, tried to avoid her because of her persistence at this seemingly hopeless endeavor. One priest did console her by saying, “it is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.” This thought, coupled with a vision that she had
received strengthened her. St. Augustine was baptized by St. Ambrose in 387. St. Monica died later that same year, on the way back to Africa from Rome in the Italian town of Ostia.

Consider … “If you seek to carry no other crosses but those whose reason you understand, perfection is not for you.” — ST. TERESA OF AVILA.

Our standard … Friday, August 9

English: Detail of a sculpture showing Jesus C...

Crosses. Yours/mine/His/ours/theirs.

 

 

Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “The Cross of Christ bears the suffering and the sin of mankind, including our own. Jesus accepts all this with open arms, bearing on His shoulders our crosses and saying to us: “Have courage! You do not carry your cross alone! I carry it with you. I have overcome death and I have come to give you hope, to give you life.” ~ Pope Francis.

I was told once, and it stuck, that Christianity is a group effort. And that’s true, from the Top down. We’re all in this thing together. To be like Christ, and we’re all called to be Christ-like (its called being a saint), we don’t carry our crosses alone. We carry one an others. Or help to. We even help Jesus carry His by offering up our own. And He, for His part, helps us all. Building community is a basic building block of Christianity. Even the hermit, so seemingly alone, offers their life up in solitude for their own good and the good of all the rest. There are no lone wolves in the Faith. Wolves raid and disrupt the flock. When did you ever hear of a lone sheep? That only happens when they’re lost and they’re only lost when separated from the rest and alone. So crosses serve a purpose other than working towards our personal perfection, tempering us as individuals. Just as the two beams are united, even so the cross units us. Its our standard.

St. Godfrey

 

 

St. Godfrey

St. Godfrey. Two martyrs of the same name: Godfrey of Duynen, and Godfrey of Merville, both hanged by Calvinists. Godfrey of Duynen was a priest and former rector, and Godfrey of Merville was a member of the Franciscan house at Gorkum, Holland. They were hanged at Briel and are honored among the Martyrs of Gorkum. Obviously these saints are familiar with crosses, both their own and those of others. The Calvinists responsible for their murders had crosses of their own, false doctrinal ideas. Our saints deaths no doubt helped alleviate these. Can you imagine the prayers these two offered in Heaven for their persecutors? I can’t believe these prayers went unanswered. So you see, not only do we help each other with our crosses, we help the world with its crosses as well. And this is called “loving your enemy” and doing good for those who despitefully use you.

Think … If you, being Catholic, need all the help you can get as a member of God’s flock, how much more does the lost sheep, your neighbor outside the fold, need you?

 

 

 

Carrying your Tree of Life … Tuesday, July 23

"Tree of Life"

“Tree of Life.” “In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” … Revelation 22:2.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “And bearing the cross for Himself, He went forth to the place called the Skull.” John 19:17. ” … the place called the Skull.” Carrying crosses never leads in what looks like a good direction, does it? There always seems to be death and despair at the end of such a journey, thoughts that make us cringe the closer we get. Dread. Sometimes its just as bad as we think its going to be, mostly it’s not. But here and now isn’t the point. It’s the “then and there” that we tend to focus on. Because not knowing just makes a cross heavier, more burdensome. The hardest thing in the world can be to look past the place called the Skull, our own personal Calvary, as we carry our own personal cross. But that’s what we have to do. Our focus can’t be on the dreaded “then and there”, the place of the Skull. It has to go beyond that, to another “then and there”. Because the place of the Skull is NOT the end of the road. Calvary, ours or Jesus’, was just one more phase of a journey that led, not to a dreaded ending, but to a life filled beginning. Calvary takes us to an empty tomb. His empty tomb and, if we carry our cross faithfully, our empty tomb. When we remember these things crosses, rather than being dreadfully burdensome, become the Tree of Life.

Today …

St. Anne

St. Anne

St. Anne was a Hermitess, also called Susanna. Born in Constantinople in 840 to aristocrats, she fled the city to avoid marriage to Agarenus whose marriage proposal was supported by Emperor Basil the Macedonian. Anne went to Leucadia, Epirus, about 896. She lived as a hermitess there until her death. Anne may be the “Maura” listed in the Roman Martyrology as suffering martyrdom in Constantinople.She fled, she lived a life of solitude with all its blessings AND torments, and, possibly, she died a martyr. Crosses? She had plenty. And the end of her journey she arrived where? At the place of the Skull or someplace beyond that?

Remember … Proverbs !3:12 promises … “Hope that is deferred afflicteth the soul: desire when it cometh is a tree of life.”

 

The “I want to be like Jesus” Rosary

Rosary...

Every Christian wants to be like Jesus. He is our Goal. To be like Him, to be with Him. Sometimes we look at ourselves and see how far away we are from our Goal. Sometimes it helps to remember the things we have in common with Jesus, even if they’re just little things. Knowing we have things in common with Him may not make us any more like Him but it does help make Him seem not so far away. He doesn’t want to be far away. He came here, lived with us, walked with us, ate with us, to be close to us. And we can be as close to Him now as our hearts will let us.

I want to be like Jesus …

1st Joyful Mystery, the Annunciation. When it was known that I was on my way into the world there was an announcement too. I am like Jesus.

2nd Joyful Mystery, the Visitation. My mother went visiting, sharing me with others before I was ever born. I am like Jesus.

3rd Joyful Mystery, the Nativity. When I was born folks came to see me, and they were glad to see me. I am like Jesus.

4th Joyful Mystery, the Presentation. After I was born my parents were thankful to God for me. I am like Jesus.

5th Joyful Mystery, the Finding in the Temple. When I was little I’d hide away and no one would know where I was. I am like Jesus.

1st Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden. I’ve prayed when my heart was heavy and felt like it was about to break. I am like Jesus.

2nd Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. I’ve been hurt by people. I am like Jesus.

3rd Sorrowful Mystery, the Crowning with Thorns. People have made fun of me and misused me. I am like Jesus.

4th Sorrowful Mystery, Carrying the Cross. I’ve fallen more than once under a burden to heavy for me to bear alone and God has sent me help. I am like Jesus.

5th Sorrowful Mystery, the Crucifixion. I’ll die someday and I’ve had my heart-broken. I am like Jesus.

1st. Glorious Mystery, the Resurrection. When the priest baptized me I was born new in Jesus, raised up from the death of my sin, my own resurrection. I am like Jesus.

2nd Glorious Mystery, the Ascension. I am with Jesus in His Heart right now, there where He is, so in a way He has already taken me to Heaven. I am like Jesus.

3rd Glorious Mystery, the Decent of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended on Jesus, on His Church, and on me too when I was confirmed. I am like Jesus.

4th Glorious Mystery, the Assumption. Jesus’ Mother is in Heaven and she is my Mother so my Mother is in Heaven too. I am like Jesus.

5th Glorious Mystery, the Coronation. Jesus made our Mother Queen and that means she is His Queen and my Queen, she is our Queen. I am like Jesus.

I am human, God is my Father, Mary is my Mother, the Saints (living and dead) are my family, Christ’s Church is His Body and I am a part of all this. I want to be like Jesus. And in being like Jesus I need to remember those things we already have in common and prayerfully work on the rest.

How do you CROSS a threshold? … Friday, July 5

Christ Carrying the Cross

Christ Carrying the Cross. We may as well get used to it. It’s the only way to get over any threshold with hope.

A Rosary Meditation … The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself.” Luke 9:23. That’s what it takes to willingly carry a cross and not try to get out from under, isn’t it? Self denial. It occurs to me that a great help in “self-denial” is “other acceptance”. If I set myself aside a great help in doing this would be for me to accept another to replace myself with. If I’m going to set myself aside what , who, should take my place?Another flawed human being? How would that be a betterment? Would my life, or theirs, improve as a result? Hardly. If anything we would, under these circumstances, be a burden to one another and our lives only be made worse. Worse for wear probably. Believe me, I’d get on your nerves even if you didn’t get on mine. No, to replace self we all need something, Someone, greater than ourselves. It’s only a Greater One Who would be worth following. Following is hard work. We have to keep our eyes on the one we’re following and also keep up. This can make the journey difficult to say the least. Which is another good reason not to follow another human being with all their foibles. If you’re following me and I trip maybe you’ll trip too, and even fall. So we follow Someone Greater. Following is hard work, it takes self-denial, and hard work coupled with self-denial is a cross. But its the only way we’ll ever be where Jesus is, isn’t it?

Today …

 

 


St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria was co-founder of the Barnabites. I’m sure being involved in such an endeavor would be a tremendous cross to bear, necessitating great self-denial. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, Anthony became a medical doctor. What a cross it must be, caring for the sick and infirm. In 1528 he was ordained a priest  and cofounded the Barnabites, the religious congregation so-called because it was headquartered in St. Barnabas Monastery in Milan. Being a priest is a burden, a joyful one. The Barnabites occupied the monastery in 1538, having been approved in 1533. Anthony popularized the forty-hour prayer ceremony, and its never an easy thing to introduce something new, promoted the use of altar sacraments, and introduced the ringing of church bells on Friday. Which bell ringing no doubt cause a problem, at least to begin with, with the neighbors and there’s another cross. Cross neighbors. Look at the picture. What’s that our good saint is carrying? I’ll bet he’d be a good one to ask for advice when a cross we carry seems to heavy to bear.

Pope John Paul II … He wrote a book titled “Crossing the Threshold of Hope“. The title alone gives us a lot to think about. Is there any other way to get over a threshold with hope other than a cross?

We all need prayer, but some more than others … Tuesday, June 18

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

A Rosary Meditation … The Forth Sorrowful Mystery, the Carrying of the Cross. “I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.” – Jacinta, (child-seer of Fatima, Portugal).

Think for a moment about the current condition of the world. I could go into great detail as to the evils we’re surrounded with but the short version is this: “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20. This is exactly what the world does. Murdering an innocent child, for example, is termed “terminating a pregnancy” and this impersonal wording somehow makes infanticide alright. The list goes on. And all of this? All of this is a cross that Christians, the real ones, carry daily. And of all the Christians who carry these crosses the one they weigh the heaviest on is the one Jesus left in charge. Which is why I gave the above quote. If you’re unfamiliar with Fatima and the message delivered to Christians there, a message from God and brought to us by His Mother, you might like to Google the subject a little latter. But my point here is simple. We all carry crosses in this modern world. Nothing about being “modern” or “progressive” changes the world’s fallen nature. Some carry a greater burden than others given the ministry God has intrusted them with. And our duty to these people is clear. The Church at this very moment, all over the world, faces greater persecution and demonic threats, from outside and, regrettably, from within than ever before.

PLEASE! PRAY DAILY AND EARNESTLY FOR OUR HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS!

Today …

St. Gregory Barbarigo

St. Gregory Barbarigo was born in 1625, of a very old and distinguished Venetian family. A brilliant student, he embraced a diplomatic career and accompanied the Venetian Ambassador, Contarini, to the Congress of Munster in 1648. Then he became a priest and was soon thereafter consecrated as the first Bishop of Bergamo by Pope Alexander VII. Later on he was elevated to the rank of Cardinal and also given authority over the diocese of Padua. He guided his flock with pastoral wisdom and deep understanding. St. Gregory Barbarigo worked unceasingly in carrying out the reforms set forth by the Council of Trent. Through his efforts the seminaries of both Bergamo and Padua were substantially enlarged. At Padua he also added a library and a printing press. He died in 1697. Think about it. Our saint worked to implement positive, God-given change that was the result of the Council of Trent. Every Council has given rise to small groups of schismatics, trouble makers, honestly confused people, and some who are simply of evil intent. Every Pope since Vatican II can attest to this. Everything that’s happened, all of the negatives fostered by both false brethren and the honest ones who are confused, fall on the shoulders of our current Holy Father. Pray that Saint Gregory intercede for our good Pope Francis. He needs all the help he can get and I’ll bet Gregory knows more about that, from experience, than we do.

Prayer … Changes things. If there was no need for change there would be less need for prayer.