Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bearing your cross

In the fourth sorrowful mystery, the Carrying of the Cross, we find perhaps the dreariest aspect of Christian life. The part we would almost all love to ignore. It is one thing to decide to do the unpleasant when it is just a decision. It is one thing to suffer at the hands of others when you have no power to change it. But requires so much more to willingly pick up that load and persevere for the temptation to give up and take it easy looms all the time.

While it always stinks to suffer at the hands of others, it requires little effort on our part. But to bear our crosses, to take out the garbage, to pay a bill, to do the chores, to apologize once again for yelling at loved ones (despite numerous previous resolutions to control the temper), actually requires our strength and effort. To go beyond "not sinning" and actually doing good wearies even the best of us - weakened as we are by our own sins and the sins of others.

As much as we detest the dreary chores, we see here Jesus teaching us the secret to humility (the sure fire remedy to the sin of pride - which is ultimately the only sin). After we fall, we need to get up and try again. and again. and again. and again. and again. and again. and again.

I remember making fun of other Catholics for the habit of doing the same bad thing and then going to confession over and over again. I smugly thought to myself they were abusing the system. And then I tried to live a good life. And found myself doing the same bad thing and going to confession over and over again. And I know just how ridiculous it looks to others.

How often does Our Lord forgive us? Seven times? Seventy times seven? Our Lord has shown us he will keep pressing on and asks us to press on until he accomplishes his purpose - victory over death and sin.

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