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Carrying my cross throughout my life

I sometimes feel that God is putting me on trial, sort of like giving me a test of my faith and my ability to carry my own cross. During the Lenten season that has just finished, I was conscious of this and took time out to reflect on Jesus carrying his cross, by himself.

I thought that was a bit ironic, as he must have known what he was facing, but still accepted the suffering that was inflicted upon him. I often think that even though the way ahead will be tough, I need to do the same.

In his gospel, St. Mark says, “If you want to be my disciple, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”

Looking back on my life, I can see where I have been in different situations where I had the feeling God was putting me on trial. My patience, trust and, most of all, my faith in him were sorely tested.

So many times I wanted to give up, but each time the image of all the promises that God has made to me, promises that I know are made out of love, would flash across my mind.

This has been something that has given me hope and the inspiration to fight on and face the trials that have come my way.

In a way, those words of promise have become a weapon for me to use to fight my enemies.

When I feel down, I find thinking about the kind of life Jesus must have lived on this earth helps me to put things in perspective.

It is clear to me that his life was not easy. He faced many trials of his own. He suffered great pain and put up with so many things.

From this, I can understand that no matter how hard the road that we have to travel may seem, we have to trust in God and trust that in the end, our journey will end up in the place where God is waiting for us.

My experience is that every hump in the road along the way is where I will find God. He is there guiding me. One thing I have learned is that crossing these humps is just one more thing in life that I cannot change. It is part of following God and part of being true to myself.

That is how we glorify God. That is how we stay with him forever.

But ultimately, I know that we are here on earth to serve God, even though there are a lot of things around us to distract us. We can do this by serving our neighbour, treating each one as if God is there with them, which he is.

That involves forgiving and understanding other’s transgressions, the same way that God treats us, as even though we sin, God still understands and forgives.

When we sin, we pray, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner, for I am human, not perfect like you.” But when our brother or sister sins, do we say the same prayer?

We can be tempted to weigh up the damage done to us by another person’s sin before we decide to forgive, even though God, the Lord of all creation, does not do this to us. He is patient, willing to give everything and wait for us to turn back, repent and be reconciled.

Then we are told there is great rejoicing in heaven, as at long last, after waiting and waiting we respond to God’s ever-present call to conversion.

So surrender all to God, our burdens, pain, heartaches, frustrations, sorrows and all those things that are piled up on the cross that we carry every day.

We don’t have to wait for forgiveness from God, in fact, we don’t even have to ask for it, but we do have to take a step to be reconciled. We also have to take a step when our brother or sister asks to be reconciled with us.

To have peace of mind and heart, to be relaxed with a happy disposition in a loving and caring environment with our neighbours is the wonderful work of glorifying God and worshipping Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you all.

 

● Liza Valdez-Arro