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Tag Archives: crosses

“IT IS THROUGH THE CROSS THAT WE REACH HEAVEN”

“Whether we wish it or not, we must suffer. Some suffer like the good thief, other like the bad. Both suffered equally, but the one knew how to render his sufferings meritorious, and the other expired in the most frightful despair.

There are two ways of suffering – with love and without love. The saints suffered everything patiently, joyfully, perseveringly, because they loved. We suffer ill-humouredly, petulantly, wearily, because we do not love. If we loved God, we should rejoice that we have it in our power to suffer for the love of Him Who has deigned to suffer for us.

In the way of the cross, my children, it is only the first step which costs. The fear of crosses is our greatest cross.

THE FEAR OF CROSSES IS OUR GREATEST CROSS

We have not the courage to carry our cross; and herein we are very foolish, for, whatever we do, the cross clings to us; we cannot escape from it.

WHAT HAVE WE TO LOSE?

What have we then to lose? Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to gain heaven? But, on the contrary, most people turn from the cross and fly before it. The faster they run, the faster the cross pursues them, strikes them, crushes them with its weight…

If the good God sends us crosses, we recoil, we complain, we murmur, we are so intolerant of everything which crosses us, that we would like to be always in a box of cotton. We deserve to be put in a box of thorns!

It is through the cross that we reach heaven. Illness, temptations, sorrows, are so many crosses which lead us thither. All that will soon be over. Look at the saints who have arrived there before us. The good God does not demand of us the martyrdom of the body; He requires only the martyrdom of the heart and of the will. Our Lord is our Model; let us take up our cross and follow Him. Let us imitate the soldiers of Napoleon. It was necessary to cross a bridge swept by the enemy’s fire. No one dared to advance. Napoleon took the flag, marched in front, and all followed. Let us do likewise; let us follow Our Lord, Who has gone before us.

The cross is the ladder of heaven… How consoling it is to suffer under the eyes of God, to be able to say to oneself in the evening, at our examination [of conscience]: ‘To-day, O my soul, you have had two or three hours of resemblance to Jesus Christ; you have been scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified with Him…’ O what a treasure for the hour of death! How pleasant it is to die when one has lived on the cross!

If someone said to you: ‘I am anxious to grow rich, what must I do?’ you would answer: ‘You must work.’ Well, to gain heaven, we must suffer. Suffer! What matter! It is only for a moment. If we could pass eight days in heaven, we should understand the value of that moment of suffering. We should find no cross heavy enough, no trial bitter enough…”
– Blessed Cure d’Ars

 

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“CROSSES UNITE US TO OUR LORD; THEY HELP US THROUGH THIS EARTHLY LIFE JUST AS A BRIDGE HELPS ONE TO CROSS OVER THE WATER”

THOUGHTS ON THE CROSS BY THE HOLY CURE OF ARS

• “We complain when we suffer; but we would have more reason to complain if we did not have anything to suffer, since nothing else renders us more similar to Our Lord. Oh what a beautiful union of the soul with Our Lord Jesus Christ, through our love for His cross!”

• “If the good God sends us crosses, we become discouraged, complain, murmur. We are such enemies of all that goes against us, that we would wish always to be wrapped up in cotton wool.”

• “If someone should say to you: ‘I would willingly become rich, what do I have to do?’, you should reply in this way: ‘It is necessary to work.’ Well! in order to get to Heaven, it is necessary to suffer.”

• “We should never look to see where the crosses came from: they came from God. It is always God Who gives us this means to prove our love for Him.”

• “There are two ways in which to suffer: to suffer loving and to suffer without loving. The Saints suffered everything with patience, joy and perseverance because they loved. We suffer with anger, vexation and tedium because we do not love. If we were to love God, we would be happy to suffer for love of Him Who accepted to suffer for us.”

• “He who goes to meet the cross walks in the opposite direction of the crosses: he meets them, perhaps, but he is happy to meet them. He loves them and bears them with courage. They unite him to Our Lord. They purify him. They detach him from this world. They remove obstacles from his heart and help him to pass through this life, just as a bridge helps one to cross over the water.”

 
 

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OVERCOMING THE NUISANCE OF BEING SUSPENDED BETWEEN A FAINT HOPE AND A GREAT FEAR

AN ABANDONMENT TO PROVIDENCE

“Nothing is so painful as to be suspended between a faint hope and a great fear; but we should live in faith as regards the measure of our trials as well as in everything else. Our sensibility is such that we are often tempted to believe that our trials are greater than our strength, but we do not know either the forces of our own heart, or the trials of God.

The balancing of these two things is reserved for Him who understands both – our hearts, which He has made with His own hands, with all their complexities, which we ourselves do not comprehend, and the extent of the trials which He imposes upon us. Let Him act freely, then; let us be content to suffer without yielding to complaints.

What we believe possible is only so to our immortification and cowardice; what we consider overwhelming is only so to our pride and self-love, which cannot be too thoroughly overwhelmed. But the new man, in this fitting overthrow of the old, finds new force and heavenly consolation.”
– Fenelon

 
 

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DO NOT FEAR CROSSES AND TRIALS

“It matters not whether our crosses be interior or exterior; the important thing is to bear them well, as our divine Model [Jesus Christ] bore them: with love, preserving our souls in peace and abasement before God, and submitting with meekness, calmness and love to the good pleasure of our amiable Jesus.

Crosses borne thus have a most sanctifying effect on our souls. They take us out of ourselves to some extent, or rather they empty us of ourselves to fill us with God; they render us pliable and docile to the impressions of divine grace, distrustful of ourselves, humble and insignificant in our own eyes; they place us in total dependence on Jesus Christ, our only love, and make us feel this dependence, as also our poverty, weakness and misery.

What happiness to be destitute of all, if by the consciousness of our destitution and weakness we learn to live in perfect dependence on Jesus Christ, our only resource.”
(P. Liebermann. Letters.)

 

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HOW TO GAIN A PARTIAL OR PLENARY INDULGENCE FOR THE WAY OF THE CROSS

PARTIAL INDULGENCE:

To gain a partial indulgence, a Catholic in good standing must simply perform the prescribed work – in this case make the Way of the Cross – in a state of grace (that is, free of having committed a mortal sin that remains unforgiven in Confession) and have at least a general intention of gaining indulgences. A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless otherwise expressly indicated.

PLENARY INDULGENCE:

To gain a plenary indulgence, however, several additional factors must also be present. All together, they are the following:

1. The person must be a Catholic, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace, that is, free from mortal sin that has not been confessed and forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance.

2. The recipient must go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, and say at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intentions of the Sovereign Pontiff. These can all be done several days before or after performing the prescribed “work”, in this case, making the Way of the Cross. But it is more fitting that the Communion and the prayers for the Pope’s intentions be on the same day that the “work” is performed. A single Confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but sacramental Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.

3. The recipient must be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin. Although a person might still sin, as we all do, or even be inclined to an habitual sin, such as using God’s name in vain, yet so long as the attachment to the sin or the desire to commit it is absent from the person’s soul, he or she would be considered “free from attachment to sin.” (If this disposition is in any way less than perfect or if any of the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be only partial.)

4. Only one plenary indulgence may be gained per day. But one can obtain the plenary indulgence “for the moment of death,” even if another plenary indulgence had been acquired on the same day.

5. The person must perform the prescribed work, in this case, make the Way of the Cross – with at least the general intention of gaining indulgences. In making the Way of the Cross, the following norms apply:

a) The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.

b) For the erection of the Way of the Cross, fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.

c) Although according to the more common practise the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings to which some vocal prayers are added, yet nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.

d) a movement from one station to the next is required, but if the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their places.

e) Those who are “impeded” can gain the same indulgence if they spend at least half an hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
– from the Enchiridion of Indulgences – Norms and Grants, from the Second Revised Edition of the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, 1968.

 

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PRAYER FOR WHEN WE ARE WORN OUT

Dear Jesus, lay thy wounded Hand
upon my weary head,
and teach me to have courage
in the paths that I must tread.
Bless me, and bless those whom I love,
and give us grace to see:
these crosses bravely borne by us
will keep us close to thee.

And if at times a shadow falls
in unexpected ways,
put thy gentle Hand in mine
and guide me through the days.
So bless my people, one and all,
with thy protecting grace,
and impart to them thy Wisdom
‘ere they meet thee face to face.
Amen.

 
 

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