As I knelt before our Lord in adoration today I found myself complaining about the little struggles I was going through. I was asking him to remove them because I didn’t want to deal with them anymore.
As I was looking at him in the Eucharist an image came to my mind. It was the image from “The Passion of the Christ” when Jesus is being crucified. There is one shot that always strikes me. It is when Jesus is laying down on the cross, before they raise it, and he turns his head, the camera captures just his face and his eyes are staring straight into yours.
With that image in my mind I heard Jesus telling me, “Give it to me, I will take those struggles on myself and carry them for you so you don’t have to.” I was taken aback. As I saw the brutal image of Christ’s bloody and bruised face in my mind, I found myself begging him to let me carry those little crosses and more so he wouldn’t have to suffer so much. How could I, who have so little to suffer, ask our Lord to take even my little problems on himself, to carry more of a weight to Calvary, to suffer more of an agony?
The thing is, he will NEVER force us to carry it; he WILL take more on himself if that is what we ask him. But I realized I was asking without realizing what I was asking.
I forgot how much I hated to see him suffer, I forgot how often I have asked him to allow me to console his Sacred Heart, I forgot how much I desired to show him my love by taking a little bit of the weight of the cross of his shoulders by bearing my crosses with joy and love. I forgot that these little crosses are his way of answering the desires of my heart.
But he was there to gently remind me. He wasn’t trying to make me feel guilty; he wasn’t even trying to make me take back what I said. He just wants me to be happy and he knows that if I had no crosses and didn’t show my love to him in anyway I would not be happy; on the contrary, I would be miserable in my self absorbed bubble. What more perfect time then during lent to be reminded of the value of the cross, to be reminded how much the Lord truly loves us and will do anything even take on more suffering if that is how he will be able to show us more love.
As we approach Holy Week, when we will be able to accompany him in an even more intimate way, let us thank God for the crosses in our life and use them as an opportunity to demonstrate our love for him and unite ourselves even more to him.