Can you believe it? It is Friday of the fifth week of Lent. On Sunday we begin Holy Week. As we do so it occured to me to share this reflection from St. Thomas a Kempis' "Imitation of Christ", a spiritual classic. It has greatly touched my own heart. From Book II, Chapter 12, section 4 entitled "The Royal Road of the Cross":
"Often you will (seem to) be abandoned by God, often you will be troubled by your neighbor, and what is more, you will often be a burden to yourself. Neither can you find any remedy or comfort which can free you or relieve you, but is convenient for you to bear it as long as it shall please God. "
"For God wants you to learn to suffer tribulation without comfort, so that you may wholly submit yourself to Him, and thus become more humble through tribulation. No man feels so cordially the Passion of Christ as he who has suffered such like things."
"The Cross, therefore, is always ready, and waits for you in every place. You cannot escape it, wherever you run; for wherever you go you carry youself with you, and you will always find yourself."
Look upwards, or look downwards; look outward, or look inward, and in all directions you will find the cross. And it is necessary for you to be patient everywhere, if you wish to have interior peace and merit the eternal crown."
Perhaps that is a sober word but Jesus has said that to be His follower we must take up our cross and follow him. He went to the Cross first. We all have crosses whether they are from without or from within. It is part of our human condition. The best thing to do is accept them. Fighting against them brings us frustration, anger, discouragement and sometimes even despair. I have learned over the years to offer up my crosses for some intention; there are so many people, so many situations to pray for. Sometimes when we feel our prayers are not being answered, the best prayer is "Lord, I offer up this day with all its joys, sorrows, crosses for _______. Fill in the blanks. Let us pray for each other this week. May you have a blessed Holy Week and a joyful, happy Easter!