Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday Reflection from Fr. James

From Fr. James...

"Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need You. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need You, my Jesus, in this night of exile! - from a prayer composed by St. Padre Pio

Each of us has a cross to carry. We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love. Why complain about something which is our means to gain eternal life?

As Thomas a' Kempis reminds us, "The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will -- above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one" (The Imitation of Christ, Book II, chapter 12).

The transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor tells us that the glory of the resurrection will only take place through the sufferings of Good Friday. The transfiguration of Jesus teaches us that the Cross is necessary in order for Easter to take place. However, too many of our contemporaries are like those who stood at the foot of the Cross and cried out to Jesus that He should come down from the Cross. Many would like to have a Christianity without self-denial, discipline, and renunciation. However, Christianity without the Cross is not Christianity at all.

My own personal journey with the Lord Jesus has shown me that all of this is true. As I look back on my life, every cross, every tribulation, every persecution, every moment of bodily pain has been a moment of growth, sanctification and transformation. We must die to self in order to live.

If I may, I would like to conclude with a personal story that is rather intimate. I have never shared this story with anyone, but the story is apropos for our present reflection..." (Continued here)

No comments: