Christ was crucified today. For our sake, He endured being beaten and whipped. He was then made to carry His own cross all the way to Calvary, where He was nailed to the heavy wooden structure and left to die the slow, agonizing and suffocating death of crucifixion.
It was such a horrific way to die that the Romans didn’t even inflict on their own people when they were sentenced to death.
An Unexpected Cross
This past week I was dealt a heavy spiritual blow and my immediate reaction was to feel sorry for myself. I cried whenever I was alone, and every time I was in church. The situation should eventually resolve itself, but instead of focusing on that, I kept asking myself “supposing it doesn’t?”
Surely it is no accident that this happened to me shortly before Good Friday? Here was Christ, giving me a cross to bear, one which isn’t even remotely comparable to what He endured, just before our commemoration of His horrible death.
And was I bearing my cross cheerfully? Was I accepting my opportunity to grow in faith? No!
My God, why Have You Abandoned Me?
I felt very alone in my situation.
In my own mind I was doomed: I couldn’t look forward to going to Heaven because of unresolved issues in my spiritual life and I looked at others in Church with bitterness because they were going to Heaven.
Everything earthly lost its appeal, and now that I felt threatened with losing God, He became the most important thing to me - as He should always have been!
In short, I was perilously close to committing the ultimate sin of despair.
The Road Back Home
With tremendous help from my parish priest, who is giving me great spiritual guidance, my mindset became positive again.
His first point was that God loves me, and that I should look to the good things that had just happened in my life. The return of my Mother back to the church, in answer to my prayers, and my son’s amazing Church attendance because of my example, were both huge proofs that God has not abandoned me. Far from it!
But he emphasized that God listens to the prayers of the humble, and that I needed to maintain humility when asking for God’s help with my current situation.
Moving Forward with Faith
I understood how easily I could have been feeling proud because of ‘my successes’ with my mother and my son, and how I’d probably been giving myself credit for God’s work in them. Instead, I should have been grateful that He allowed me to be His instrument. That was the first lesson in humility.
The second was that I should joyfully accept God’s cross for me. I should be humbly happy that He was testing my faith, and giving me an opportunity to grow in love for Him.
In his book I Believe in Love, Father D’Elbée said that when Christ gives us a cross to bear, He is allowing us to relieve Him - just a little bit - of
the weight of His own cross. How can I be upset at being given the chance to do that? How can I feel He doesn’t care about me, when He’s inviting me to help Him?
When we look at Christ hanging on the cross this Good Friday, we should ask ourselves, how can we – in our own small ways - relieve Him of His suffering?