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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 4, 2007
Take Up Your Cross . . .

    “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). 

     These words, spoken by Jesus, have become the cornerstone of our Christian spirituality. During the season of Lent, Christians everywhere turn their focus on the Cross of Jesus and reflect on ways by which it can “make sense” for them in their lives.  No one likes the idea of carrying their cross.  It is a painful and distasteful notion.  As human beings we do everything in our power to avoid being caught up in the snares of the cross.  Despite our best efforts however, we are continuously faced with pain, suffering,  loneliness, depression, etc.  Every human being suffers in one way or other in their lifetime.

    The story of Jesus’ cross teaches us that pain and suffering are not the end.  There is always New Life that follows.  The human condition dictates that we will experience some type of pain or suffering.  Our Faith tells us that we will experience “New Life” if we are faithful to God’s plan for us.  When we are walking through the dark valley, it is often difficult to remain faithful to God.  We are often tempted to abandon our Faith.  We can easily become discouraged, frustrated, even angry with the God who is supposed to love us so dearly.  How can he do this to us?  Why has he seemingly abandoned us?  To have these thoughts and feelings is natural.  We see this when we read the story of Jesus’ passion and death on the Cross. One of his last words are, “My God, my God , why have you abandoned me?”  But in the next breath he says, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.”  

    As Christians, we experience individual crosses and we also experience collective crosses.  There are times when we all experience the same cross.  This can be a blessing since we can turn to one another for understanding and comfort.  However, this can also be a curse since we are often all caught up in the same quicksand and there is seemingly no one to help us escape.

    Americans Catholics have been attempting to carry their collective cross for a number of years now.  The past six or seven years have been particularly difficult for all of us.  We have been betrayed by our political, financial and even our spiritual leaders.  Betrayal is especially painful since it affects our spirit as well as our emotions and intellect.  When we are betrayed by people whom we have confided in and trusted for our survival, we become cynical, despondent, even hopeless.  Who can we Trust?  Is there anyone, anywhere?  We begin feeling as though we have been crucified.  We feel as though our hands are tied, perhaps even nailed down.  We feel “beaten” and forced to carry a weight that is not ours to carry.  We are stripped of our security and our ability to hold our heads high, a gift given by our God given dignity as humans.  When will this all come to an end?

    Unfortunately, the end will come only when we are ready to experience New Life.  This New Life can only come when we place our Trust in God.  The Good News is that we do not have to wait until everyone else is on board.  It would be wonderful if everyone could see the light at the same time but that is improbable.  However, each time one person come to New Life, it will shed more and more light for others to see.  Do we believe enough to turn things around?       
                                           Lorette P. Nault