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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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.

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?

 

 

 

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?