Easter is meant to be a time of joy and happiness, but for many people this isn’t the case. We may be facing difficulties that keep us from experiencing the full joy of Easter–the loss of someone we love, financial problems, sickness, troubled relationships. All these crosses, and more, can alter our participation in this Holy Season. But have we considered that our crosses can also increase our closeness to Christ?
We talk freely about the Cross of Christ. In church, we talk about it as a gift. But have we really applied it to ourselves and our circumstances?
We all have our particular crosses to bear.
Why is this? If God truly loves us, shouldn’t He make it easy on us?
Why should we have to go through so much pain and sorrow?
Two words: Resurrection and Redemption.
Pope John Paul II told us–and showed us–what it means to have a part in the cross of Christ. He said that it means to experience, in the Holy Spirit, the love hidden within the cross of Christ. It means to recognize, in the light of this love, our own cross. It means to take up that cross once more and, strengthened by this love, to continue our journey.
Real LOVE means dying to self, and that means seeing our crosses in a different light, even though the hard times can put us in unfamiliar territory, not to mention uncomfortable and sometimes seemingly unbearable situations.
Taking up a cross and dying to self is not easy. We can only do it if we first recognize, and then are open to the grace that God is constantly offering us. From that grace will come great strength, and the knowledge we are somehow changed and co-operating with our God, not only in our own Redemption, but possibly the Redemption of someone else. After all, we never know how God will use our personal suffering to teach others.
Are we able to turn our spiritual eyes upward, to see above our problems–to see ourselves in true union with Christ?