Carrying the Cross

“One must be prepared to carry the cross with his whole mind and body.” 

I believe Fr. Stephen F. Brett, S.S.J. said wrote that sentence in the latest edition of Homiletic & Pastoral Review (Vol. CX, No.3, pg. 40). Fr. Brett is an adjunct professor of  moral theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, and rector of St.  Joseph Manor in the same city. He was reflecting on the lection for the second Sunday of Lent coming up. 

The sentence jumped up at me when it was read. 

One of the things that the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus has so clearly demonstrated regarding our human nature is that we are incarnate souls. Our souls and bodies are united in a mysterious “oneness”, rendering both holy and carrying the promise of glory when Christ comes again in his glory. Whereas our souls will leave our bodies at the moment of our death, and our bodies will return to the earth only to  rise again on the last day to be reunited with our souls in heaven (should we die in a state of grace), in this present life our souls, our minds and our bodies are united as one. What we do with our bodies, we do with our souls and vice versa. It is sort of like whatever Jesus does, so does the Father and the Spririt.  The Trinity acts as one, though distinct in their divine persons.

Perhaps I am getting older, but I find myself reflecting on the Cross more, especially as I look back on my life history. There has always been the presence of the Cross, from the beginning. The Cross of Christ, the Cross of the Church. At points of my life, it has seemed that cross was carried primarily in my mind as I searched to find the way and the truth of who I am and what was to become of me; or the cross of disappointment and worry when disease, tragedy, or unexpected reversals entered into my world. At other times, it has been the cross carried physically even though God has granted me wonderful health for the most part. I anticipate greater physical crosses as I advance in years.

The Cross though is the same cross however it is carried. 

There is only one Cross, that of Jesus Christ, who died on it. We are called to share his experience in the ways God has planned for us in his wonderful mysterious plan.

For me, it helps to meditate on the Cross by considering that when I carry it in the particular circumstances of my life, I am nailed on the same wood, with Jesus. I am with him on his cross. My distress becomes less as I meditate on the scene of Calvary, and envision myself looking down from upon the cross on the crowd below. Jesus and I are together at those moments.

That is what is meant when we are told that suffering is salvific.

The cross is just around the corner.  It always has been in my life, and I assure you it will be for you. Walk in faith and expectant hope, loving Jesus enough to carry his cross, which is yours, in mind and body.

The resurrection is soon to come!

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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