What is Our Cross?


I read this and it completely changed my perspective on the day. Please read it before continuing, it is worthy and more than worthy of your attention.

On the feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, I did not ask myself what my cross was. Every day I have a new idea of what that might be. And I realized reading M'Lynn's entry, that my cross is myself. It isn't all those little things that burden me each day. It isn't someone else or something else. It is nothing other than myself and how I choose consciously or through habit, to react to what is happening around me.

I remember when Samuel was a little baby, he was as unlike other little babies as you can begin to imagine. Whereas other children would sleep through Mass, Samuel would fuss and then cry, every mass without fail. I'd go into the Church and he'd be practically asleep and when the entrance hymn started those eyes would fly open and the fussing would begin. It would, if untreated, quickly escalate into outright screaming. The only remedy for it was for me to get up and go back into the entrance hall and walk around through all of Mass. And I remember feeling sorry for myself and wondering why he couldn't be like all the other children who slumbered peacefully during Mass. At points I concluded that I had gotten the "Omen" baby. I don't know that I ever really got over it, but when it became clear that it would happen every week, I adjusted to the fact--not gladly.

That reaction is my cross. In fact my reaction to much of the world is my cross. It was these lines that made this so clear to me:

M. is not my cross--as my hubby said afterwards, she's just perched on top of our crosses, looking cheerful at being able to get a good view of everything, maybe jumping up and down a little. I wonder what the congregation is getting from watching me hustle my decidely odd child around the church.

And I'd like to share what I get when similar things happen in my own church. Though you may not believe it, I am blessed. I am blessed by a mother who is aware enough of her child to care, and who is aware enough of the people around her to try to do something. I am blessed by having someone else to pray for rather than being stuck in the rut of how everything isn't going precisely the way I would like it to. I am blessed by the knowledge that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully" made and all deserving of love.

And as I am blessed by all of those who struggle, and who should not be ashamed or embarassed at their burden, so too I've been blessed by what M'Lynn has written for us. She's made me aware that my greatest cross is me--not others, not the world, not my burdens, but my reactions to them.

M'Lynn has reminded me that every moment, no matter how difficult, every breath I draw is a gift, it is a moment that God is present to me, if I choose to make myself aware of it. Every moment is Divine, in the sense that He is Lord of all time and outside time. And now I feel called to return to Jean Pierre de Caussade Abandonment to Divine Providence. Perhaps one of the meanings of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is that we are to see how relatively unburdened we are all compared to that Man who took all upon Himself and put an end to it once for all.

(Thanks M'Lynn for the reminder.)

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 15, 2003 7:58 AM.

Quotable Samuel was the previous entry in this blog.

While I'm In Embarrassment Mode is the next entry in this blog.

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