It’s been a little more than two months since my last post and, while things have been different, it’s not surprising that things have also remained the same.
Ruthie and Bill came by for dinner yesterday— perfect for Ruthie’s lessons on Yahoo mail and navigating both the church blog and this one. She’s one very quick study— “a sponge,” I call her.
Our visit also allowed us quality time together, so I could learn more about her.
Revisiting St. Simon
In talking about health issues, which we all seem to have these days, I immediately remembered “revisiting St. Simon;” so I clicked on the link.
On seeing the photo of Most Precious Blood Church, Ruthie’s face lit up.
“I know the church!” she exclaimed before adding that they’d attended a funeral there “just last week.”
We viewed the photo files of the St. Jude Shrine after which I clicked on the stone pocket-cross prayer.
“You see the cross in the photo? It’s this one here,” I said, reaching across the desk.
I handed Ruthie the brown-black stone cross that David gave me last year, since I keep it here by my computer all the time.
Bearing one’s crosses
“It’s really difficult to bear one’s crosses,” Ruthie softly sighed.
I nodded smilingly in agreement. “Which is why, when I’m facing something truly insurmountable, I reach for the little stone cross, hold it, rub it, and reflect on its relevance in my life.”
Ruthie held the small stone cross, rubbing it gently as if etching a memory of its smoothness in her small hands.
“How could David have known that I’d need this very personal reminder to carry me through the tough times?” I wondered out loud. “He couldn’t even come up with a reason for giving it to me other than he sensed that I needed it— or would need it— somehow.”
As we continued reading, Ruthie sat on the edge of her seat, wholely engrossed in the text’s message.
“So you see how simple it is?” I asked when I thought she’d finished reading. “All you have to do is revisit St. Simon’s post to connect with the small stone cross and reread the prayer.”
Ruthie smiled. “Simon was my father’s name, and I never knew anything about
St. Simon until now.”
I smiled, too, because just then Ruthie had made a personal connection that, hopefully, would help her remember that she’s not alone when she’s afraid.
Where two or more are gathered
It’s always so much easier to bear one’s cross when we have something to hold onto: A memory, a special memento, the knowledge that someone’s with us through the tough times, maybe not in person but in one’s heart.
When I go through my rough moments, I come here to my thoughtful spot where I can gaze at the Holy Infant’s picture above my workspace. I hold the small stone cross tightly, pressing my concerns and all my feelings into its surface as I dialogue with the Infant.
Forgive me, sweet Jesus. I’m having a tough time bearing my cross right now. I know you love me. I know you’re with me. I’m with you. Please know that this, too, will pass. Thank you, Jesus. Praise you, Jesus. I’ll get through this somehow.
I think about Sister in Australia. I think about the cathedral back home. I think about my friends— Paty, Rose, Pat, Cammie, and others— who, like Ruthie, have shared their crosses with me.
Most of all I recall the Child Jesus chaplet prayer:
Divine Infant Jesus, I adore your cross. And I accept all the crosses you will be pleased to send me….
At that moment, I sense that my mind, heart, and soul have penetrated the small stone cross to its core. I’m infused with warmth. I’m empowered all over again.
One cross overcome
This morning after nine o’clock Mass, I had a most joyful surprise. Not only did I see Ruthie and Bill but I was also heartfully greeted by Rose, whom I hadn’t seen since before her recent throat surgery.
Rose’s beautiful blue eyes were barely visible as her smiles practically swallowed them up. She was sooo happy that everything she said ended in exclamation points.
“I’m healed! The cancer is all gone! I’m perfectly healed! I’ve been praying my Child Jesus chaplet every single day, and Sister has been sooo wonderfully supportive!”
We hugged each other so tightly that I thought my right shoulder would crush her throat! We rejoiced at her glorious news!
As I took photos of Steven with our friends, Rose shared her story with Ruthie, whom she’d just met.
Somehow or another we always get past our tough times. And we find that we’ve been able to bear our crosses so much better with a little help from our friends— even when they’re with us only in spirit— because friends are, after all, God’s gift to us when we need him most.
Prayers from Retreat Booklet (Franciscan Mission Associates, B-20)
For a good life… You are the protector, O God, of all who trust in you. Without you nothing is right or holy. Shower your mercy upon us. With you as our leader and guide may we use the good things of life without losing those that will last forever. This favor we ask through Jesus Christ, your son and our lord. Amen.
For abundant blessings… You are all powerful, O God, and your mercies last forever. They exceed not only what we deserve, but even our highest hopes. Pour down your graces on us, forgive the sins that haunt our conscience, and even grant us the favors we dare not presume to ask. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, we implore you. Amen.
For true happiness… It is you, O God, who makes your faithful people of one mind and heart. Give us, then, the grace to love your commands and to desire your promises. Amid the allurements of life let our hearts ever be fixed on the true source of our joy. Through your son, Jesus Christ, our lord, we ask this blessing. Amen.
May 13, 2011
Father Robert, OP shared his thoughts on worry, anxiety, and serenity.
“When your heart has fallen, raise it gently, humbling yourself greatly before God and acknowledging your limitations. Do not undertake your affairs with disquietude, anxiety, and worry. Do not hurry and excite yourself… for this hinders reason and judgment and prevents us from doing well the very thing about which we are excited. Commend yourself to God and soften and moderate your concerns with reason” (St. Francis de Sales, 1567-1622).
One of the greatest treasures you can have is inner calm and peace. Complete serenity of mind is a gift from God; but this inner quiet is not without our own intense effort. God will not give you this unless you work with all your strength to obtain it. Do not confuse serenity with being lazy or careless [or] with putting off decisions. You must be diligent and decide you can deal with your problems. Therefore, you need to get control of your mind and feelings and identify the specific causes of uneasiness. Then, with God’s help and [with] prayer, take one step at a time.
November 12, 2011
“Let us bear our cross and leave it to God to determine the length and the weight”
(St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).
July 20, 2014
“When the afflictions of this life overcome us, let us encourage ourselves to bear them patiently by the hope of heaven” (St. Alphonsus Liguori).
September 14, 2014
From here on earth love cannot live without suffering. It is through loving the cross that we discover his heart, for divine love never lives without suffering (St. Bernadette Soubirous).
November 24, 2014
“The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for his sake” (St. Philip Neri).
December 18, 2014
“If there be a true way that leads to the everlasting kingdom, it is most certainly that of suffering patiently endured” (St. Colette).
March 10, 2015
“In all trials I will say always, ‘Lord, your will be done’” (St. Gerard Majella).
March 26, 2015
“Detachment is the secret of perseverance” (St. Sebastian Valfre).
March 30, 2015
“Follow after Christ and carry your cross for your salvation as Christ carried his cross for your salvation” (St. Anthony of Padua).
March 31, 2015
“Bear the cross and do not make the cross bear you” (St. Philip Neri).
April 17, 2015
Pray that we remember that the crosses we are given are not too heavy. And when we carry our cross we carry it towards Christ (Matthew Archbold).
May 27, 2015
I will not live an instant that I do not live in love. Whoever loves does all things without suffering, or, suffering, loves his suffering (St. Augustine of Canterbury).
“Who, then, can be so shameful as to desire to enter into the kingdom of Christ with ease, when he himself did not enter into his own kingdom without pain?” (St. Thomas More).
May 29, 2015
“For pity’s sake, don’t start meeting troubles halfway” (St. Teresa of Avila).
June 1, 2015
There is nothing which we more earnestly desire than to endure torments for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, for this is what will provide our happiness and give us confidence at his bar where all men must appear to be judged (St. Justin).
June 8, 2015
You must constantly carry the cross which he lays on you, be it interior or exterior, without growing weary or complaining of its length or weight. Does it not suffice that it has been given you by the hands of a friend whose all-loving heart has destined it for you from all eternity? (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque).
June 5, 2015
What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful, and he tells us: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
July 12, 2015
“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent” (St. John of the Cross).
September 28, 2015
“God sends us trials and afflictions to exercise us in patience and teach us sympathy with the sorrows of others” (St. Vincent de Paul).
May 26, 2016
“Men are generally the carpenters of their own crosses” (St. Philip Neri).
June 30, 2016
Suffering overwhelms you because you take it like a coward. Meet it bravely, with a Christian spirit, and you will esteem it like a treasure
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).
November 15, 2016
“It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man and man to God” (St. Albert the Great).
December 10, 2016
“Nature easily complains of want and of trouble, but grace bears poverty with constancy” (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ).
January 30, 2017
In the same way that a powerful medicine cures an illness, so illness itself is a medicine to cure passion. And there is much profit of soul in bearing illness quietly and giving thanks to God (St. Amma Syncletica).
March 1, 2017
Why must we suffer? Because, here below, pure love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours (St. Bernadette Soubirous).
April 5, 2017
In Christ, all of life has meaning now. We have the opportunity to participate in the redemption of the world by offering up our suffering in union with Christ, and there is a treasure trove of meaning for us to uncover! (Jeff Cavins in When You Suffer).
April 24, 2017
The support of friends, especially in times of crisis, is vital to helping us through the emotions that flood and fuel our hearts. They will help us see clearly enough to move through mourning, provide lighter moments, too, especially if we might seem to teeter on the edge of truly losing hope. They will be the personification of God’s unconditional love and help us find even greater spiritual depth (Maureen Pratt in Don’t Panic: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough).
Crosses to share and to keep / gifts: Jim Moreno, 2015
Grounds at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House – Lake Dallas, TX
Links of interest… Bearing the cross / one’s crosses… Can suffering be a gift from God… Cross that we bear… Crucifixes & crosses… Final hours of Jacques Fesch… Finding hope in the trials of life… God comes to you in your lowliness… How to endure suffering… Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House (about – facebook)… Other people’s blessings… Pain beneath the cross… Sanctifying suffering in union with Christ… Secret of avoiding bitterness in suffering… St. Francis de Sales: about / Introduction to the devout life (ebook)… Stories in stone… Suffering with the distressed… Task of love: Carrying the cross… Upset & turned upside down… What is your cross made of… When God doesn’t answer / life disappoints you…
WP posts… Backtracking… Connected tangents… Forever grateful… Growing pains… October novena… One prayer… Prayerful ways… Repeated prayers… Revisiting St. Simon… Sweet Jesus… St. Anthony Claret… St. Jude novena… St. Jude shrine (Chicago)… St. Jude shrine (Corpus Christi)… Unexpected detours… Vattmann church… Venerable Margaret