This morning my wife and I were faced with a challenging situation. Our 11 year old twins, Mary and Elizabeth, were complaining about a variety of things. Between the two of them we had sore throats, a backache, nausea (complete with gagging but no vomiting), congestion, “school is boring” “I need a day off”, etc. Neither of the girls had a fever, which actually makes the decision making process more difficult for us. We gave the speech about seeing how it goes during the day, which unleashed a floodgate of tears. We tried the logic about how it’s going to be more difficult to stay home and deal with all of the makeup work. We also reassured them that they could go to the nurse if they really didn’t feel well and that one of us would be available to pick them up.
While this discussion was going on this morning, the clock was ticking and I was becoming later and later for work. I was on the verge of losing my cool as I started to panic about being late. It didn’t help that I had a lot of things waiting for me at the office. I literally felt like screaming as the frustration built up inside of me. Then I remembered the words of Jesus:
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23)
Once I remembered Our Lord’s words, I took a deep breath and felt peace. Whether I liked it or not, this situation was God’s will for me at this moment. He gave me these kids and this situation and even though I didn’t want to deal with it, this was part of my daily cross. We can either embrace these little (or sometimes big) crosses or reject them. One of these approaches will bring peace and the other will bring agony.
Life is really difficult sometimes. We have to do many things that aren’t fun. We can either “take up or crosses” or complain about them. One of the wonderful things about our Christian Faith is that we can unite all of our discomfort with Our Lord’s suffering on the cross. By doing that, we can actually assist Him in the salvation of mankind! Saint Paul tells us, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24). I’m blown away when I think of what a privilege that is.
When these “crosses” arise throughout the day, try to remember that embracing them is the only way to peace. As Jesus promised:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:28)