April 23, 2017

The Cross

"The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God."  (Prayer of Saint Francis De Sales)

I have for, the most part, been fairly healthy these past 6 years. While some of my fellow workers had been felled by numerous maladies over the same period, other than a few sniffles and sneezes, I had escaped the same fate. My fading memory seems to remember giving Our Lord thanks every now and again for this blessing, and I suppose, a privilege of sorts. I say a privilege because, were I to miss more than a day's work, the impact on my finances would require a loan from the bank to recover. So...Our Blessed Lord has kept my health pretty stable, and because of that, so have my finances. 

Until this past winter, that is.

Since Christmas 2016, I have had 2 cases of strep throat, in between which was a throat virus that was as bad as the strep, and a mouthful of canker sores after that that left the tip of my tongue somewhat sensitive (a burning sensation caused from damaged nerve endings, I am told). And now, the right side hernia I had fixed in 2011 has been giving indications it may be returning. I am 63 and I don't really need this in my life, especially right now. I enjoy good health, both temporally and Spiritually, and I want to stay that way.

However, despite what I think or want, Someone else knows what will profit me the most, both here and in the hereafter. He knows my many weaknesses and too few strengths. He knows my penchant for wanting the easy way out and my occasional lack of fortitude. He knows the many times I very vocally proclaim my current-malady-of-the-day, as well as the small number of times I just shrug my shoulders and say "Fiat Voluntas Tua".

I came across the above prayer recently while cleaning out the center drawer of my desk (which as all office workers know is the default location for everything that does not fit in a side drawer). I remember it used to be taped to the side of my computer tower until the last office re-organization and my work station got moved. True-to-form, it wound up buried in my center drawer until its recent resurrection (prophetically, around Easter).

So, I am once again reminded of how in-control is Our Blessed Lord of my life and its various intricacies. He alone knows what is best for my eternal Salvation and also the what, why and how of my needed participation in that endeavor. He knows I will get discouraged in my efforts and is always prepared to remind me of His words of encouragement:

"...Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human. And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it."

So it is, with me anyway...

In the day to day struggle at home or at work, in my personal life or just embedded and/or overwhelmed in illness of body or of Soul, the Cross is my refuge. It is the medicine that may or may not cure what ails me (as Our Lord Wills), but it surely gives me the strength, courage and Grace to weather it out until the time of my deliverance. I have had far too many struggles the past few years where my success in keeping my balance is only due to His Mercy and Love. Left to myself and relying on my own strength, I would surely have failed. 

Although, I will likely still whine and complain when the next small-c cross appears (and I fashion out of it A BIG-C CROSS), I am equally sure He will simply give another sigh, wonder what is it going to take for my complete understanding, and then send me what I need. He will then wait patiently until the next time and see if I have learned anything of His Love. 

Probably not...but as written by Fr. Leonard Goffine:

That Christian is, most foolish who fancies that the happiness of this world consists in honors, wealth, and pleasures, while Christ, the eternal Truth, teaches the contrary, promising eternal happiness to the poor and oppressed, and announcing eternal affliction and lamentation to those rich ones who have their comfort in this world. How much, then, are those to be pitied who as Christians believe, and yet live as if these truths were not for them, and who think only how they can spend their days in luxury, hoping at the same time to go to heaven where all the saints, even Christ the Son of God Himself, has entered only by crosses and sufferings. 

I fear it will always be a struggle for me to make the first words of response to any new cross: Fiat Voluntas Tua, Domine.

Copyright 2017 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

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