Let me share a brief story with you and a reflection about the crosses we carry.
The young man was at the end of his rope.
Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer.
“Lord, I can’t go on,” he said.
“I have too heavy a cross to bear.”
The Lord replied,
“My son, if you can’t bear it’s weight,
just place your cross inside this room.
Then open another door and pick any cross you wish.”
The man was filled with relief.
“Thank you, Lord,”
he sighed, and did as he was told.
As he looked around the room, he saw many different crosses;
some so large the tops were not visible.
Then he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall.
“I’d like that one, Lord,”
he whispered. And the Lord replied,
“My son, that’s the cross you brought in.”
How many of us, like the young man in this story, often wish we did not have to bear the cross we find ourselves carrying? Do we look around and believe it’s unfair that our cross is heavier than someone else’s cross? Can we accept our cross, like Jesus did, and trust that God is with us and beside us as we carry our cross?
Jesus provides the example for how to respond to suffering in the Gospel stories when he walks from Golgotha to Calvary. What we see and what we can learn from Jesus is that he accepts his cross, and though the weight of the cross causes him to fall several times, he receives and accepts help with carrying this cross. Jesus and those who accompany him, as he walks and stumbles along, teach us the profound meaning of love and compassion, of being with and not turning away from someone through the dark moments of life.
As you walk this Lenten journey,
- What is the cross you bear?
- Who has helped you to bear your cross and shown you compassion?
- Are you able to surrender and turn over to God what weighs you down?
Hopefully, when we look at these questions, we can see God’s presence in our own journey. For truly, God is with us, near us, around us, and comforting us, leaving us footprints to see and experience God’s love. In the inspirational Footprints in the Sand prayer, we are reminded that when we only see one set of footprints during times of trial and suffering, it is then that God carries us.
As you reflect on your own journey to see where God has been present, where do you see God’s footprints holding you up and offering you comfort?
Jesus’ death reminds me also of these words of Teresa of Avila, that “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.” How will you respond to this call to be Christ’s body?
Perhaps you are called to be Christ’s body as a religious sister. If you see God’s footprints calling you to explore this path, contact us to start a conversation and we will walk with you to help you discern where God is calling you.