Thursday, February 23, 2012

Take up Your Cross and Follow Me

In todays gospel by Luke, Jesus tells us "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"(Luke 9:23-25)

Our Lord is  Christ crucified therefore as he tells St. Faustina the bride must resemble the bridegroom.  To walk with Him involves suffering.  We are told through the Saints and Mother Mary to pray that suffering will become a joy for us.  Saint Faustina in her diary shares with us some of the beautiful gifts of suffering. "Suffering is the greatest treasure on earth; it purifies the soul. In suffering, we learn who our true friend is"(342 diary)."True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering"(343 diary).

St. Andre Bessette
Our time on earth is precious.  "Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow".(Psalm 144:4)  We have  such a short time to use our suffering for the benefit of others.  St. Faustina in her diary shares, "Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how much God loves it, it would die of joy and excess of happiness! Someday, we will know the value of suffering, but then we will no longer be able to suffer. The present moment is ours." (diary 693)

So many of us pray for a miracle to end our suffering.  However, St. Andre tells us we can experience a miracle daily by choosing to carry our cross for God. “People who suffer have something to offer to God. When they succeed in enduring their suffering, that is a daily miracle.”

Suffering should not be viewed as a punishment but a gift for those especially close to the Lord.  It is also a way He keeps these chosen souls close to Him as St. Padre Pio shares "Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."(Secrets of a a Soul p.47)

As we enter Lent one way to remember Jesus' passion is by praying the Stations of the Cross.  The Lord is generous with those who honor His passion by Way of the Cross.  The following are the promises to those who have a devotion to the Way of the Cross. These promises were relayed to Brother Estanislao.

  1. I promise eternal life to those who pray, from time to time, the Way of the Cross.
  2. I promise them my greatest graces.
  3. I will deliver the faithful from purgatory on the first Tuesday or Friday after their death.
  4. I promise them a special glory in Heaven.
  5. I will grant them everything they ask through praying the Way of the Cross with faith.
  6. I will grant them the remission of all their sins, even if they be as scarlet; if they be more than the grains of sand on the seashore and the stars in the heavens, all of them will be erased by the Way of the Cross.
  7. I will preserve them from sudden death.
  8. I promise them my special protection; my hands will always be open to protect them.
  9. I will bless them at each Way of the Cross and my blessing will follow them everywhere on earth, and after their death, in Heaven for all eternity.
  10. They will be assured of being joined to the Supreme Choir Of Angels.
  11. will give them the grace never again to commit a mortal sin for I will give them the grace never again to separate themselves from me.
  12. I will lift all power from the devil at the hour of death that they may repose tranquilly in my arms
  13. will make of each one of them a living ciborium in which it will please me to pour my graces
  14. I will give them a special drought from the fountain of My Deity.
  15. As I am nailed to the cross, so also will I always be with those who honour me in making the Way Of The Cross frequently. 
Brother Estanisloa was born in 1903. At an early age, he entered the Christian schools of charity in Bugedo, Spain. Here he took vows of regularity, perfection and pure love. In October 1926 he offered himself to Jesus through Mary. Soon after this heroic donation he fell ill and was obliged to rest. He died in the odor of sanctity in March, 1927 of tuberculosis. According to the master of novices he was a privileged soul who received messages from heaven. Confessors and theologians recognize these supernatural facts. His spiritual director asked him to write down the promises made by Our Lord to those who have devotion to the Way of the Cross.

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