This week has had me doing a lot of thinking in preparation for this holy week and I've come to focus through my prayer on something that has really touched me. I don't know if I can quite put it into words because it is more of an experience but I'm going to try.
I have had a lot of suffering in my life. Lots of that suffering has been suffering that I haven't been able to understand. It has been confusing. It has made me feel worthless, self conscious... just plain bad. I get more and more in touch with that everyday that I am with middle schoolers. Their own lives are such a raw picture of the suffering that I have somehow "made it through." This week I've had students being beaten up by their parents, students failing, students hurting one another and fighting... It has been insane!
Those were just examples of what I've been thinking about though. I've felt really called in prayer recently to penance and suffering for the sake of the Church. The scandals, lack of vocations, moral deterioration, Church and school closings are all calls from God to step out of the comfort zone and into the unknown - an unknown that I am certain is filled with sanctifying suffering.
Each of us is carrying a different part of the one Cross carried by Christ for all eternity. Each of us is blessed with a share in this saving, suffering cross because none of us can possibly carry the same weight Christ did once and for all. I need for you (whoever you are) to carry your part of the Cross - because I can't carry all of it and in order to participate in the life of Christ I must pick up my Cross and follow Him. I know intimately that this Cross was specifically chosen for me to carry for you so that you wouldn't need to. You carry a cross for me so that I can carry my own. We make up the one Body of Christ crucified on the one Cross of our Redemption. As I look at all the pain in the world around me I see so many people offering up a suffering I could never offer. I see others who make the offering of the Cross more and more difficult for those around them.
We are all called to carry our crosses. The question I am faced with this week is; how have I been carrying mine? Have I carried it well? Have I united it with Your's? Am I offering my suffering for those around me? Am I appreciative of the unique Cross each of my brothers and sisters carries for me? How do I show my gratitude and love for each of them?