Picking Up Your Cross Daily….

The Picking Up Your Cross Daily..

Matthew 16:24 .. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,* take up his cross, and follow me”

In Matthew Chapter 16 there are big things happening.. Jesus is prepping the disciples for Ministry.. for his Passion and Death and the Resurrection.  There is the institution of the Papacy with Peter being the first Pope and sacrament of Reconcilliation.

All this in just a few short paragraphs.

In our own work-a-day world for the average person, the person who gets up, goes to work every day, trudges through the day, and comes home.. maybe gets a couple of hours to relax and then does it all over again.. seemingly on this one giant tread mill of life.  It can be easy to miss the spiritual, world to place that on hold after Saturday evening or Sunday Morning Mass.

In the Franciscan Charism we have something we call ” The Journey and The Dream”..

There is THE DREAM part, where we have an ideallic goal, where we have this utopian existence, everyone (mostly ourselves) lives our Rule of Life, and we live in peace and harmony with everyone and all creation.  We are as close to sinless as we can manage to  be, and Our Father in Heaven is most pleased with the things on Earth.   Our Communities are places of mutual respect, and love and everyone works together for the benefit of the whole, and world lives at peace.

Then there is THE JOURNEY.. The journey is that nasty, dirty, very humanness of the Church and the world.  Where not everyone has the same vision, where not everyone has the same plan of how to achieve THE DREAM.  It is filled with our own failings and sinfulness and those of our brothers and sisters.

It is filled with the circumstances of life and the effects of sin and degradation.  Greed, envy, lust, and pride and every other kind of sin imaginable.  Any one of which comes to effect those who do their very best in the struggle to live good and holy lives.

No life, no geographic area, no occupation, no vocation, nor any other kind of person is immune to the effects of sin who live in the world.   So, whats a poor soul to do when faced with this seemingly overwhelming place where things seem so inescapable ?

We turn to God, to our faith, to our Church, to our families and friends, to those who are people of faith who share this journey.

In our daily lives we are faced with so much.  This much is true but we are also GIVEN SO MUCH !

Anyone who works in any kind of ministry will tell you that its a tuff row to hoe.   It is very human work, There are great sadnesses and great joys.  Just as any other kind of work. It’s all very human.

For people of faith, who are entrenched in the battle to conquor their own minds, hearts, and bodies.  Who are battling to tame and control the evils that lurk around in their own persons, it is so very easy to see failings.

If you go to work, and someone is trying to help you, and from the sheer frustration of the day, you growl at them in sheer frustration. Later it occurs to you that you failed to control your tongue or your emotion, and you feel not only sorry for the fact that you let things get to you, and you took it out on them, but you also feel like you failed in your efforts to win that battle, over that moment.. or that day.

You apologize to the person and ask their forgiveness and maybe you go to Reconcilliation and you feel worn down by the failings.
Maybe that list is long.  Maybe not…

Do you ever wonder why it is that Priests, Deacons and Religious Brothers and Sisters have the requirement of praying the Liturgy of the Hours every day ?   It is an anchor.   It is a renewal.   To pray every morning and every night and to make your entire life a prayer and to get your life centered in the life that is not of this world.

I have friends at work who look at their jobs and they are not happy.  Their lives are not happy and the job is a major component of that life.  They would like not to have to work, or would like more of this or that.

My mother used to say “Life is a matter of perspectives”.  It was usually something she pulled out when my brothers and I were not happy about something or we were attempting to figure out why someone would behave this way or that way, or we just disagreed with someone in our own way.

In traveling the road of faith you will eventually find that you may find yourself in one situation or another that is not exactly what you planned, and indeed may not be extremely pleasant.  This usually means that one of a few things is true.  Either, there is something there that you are supposed to learn, OR  ( and I know this might be a shock to some ) ITS NOT ABOUT YOU !   You might actually be there because you are the tool that God is using to bless someone else who is in need.   It may be that God is using you as a function to bring about His Kingdom and teach someone else.

In both these cases, it is up to us to pick up our cross daily, and follow Christ in faith, because in faith we know that He loves us, and wants what is best for us, and we are His Body here on Earth and what ever small sufferings we have are nothing compared to the glories and bounty of the Kingdom of God !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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