I read the following on Thursday, just as I was struggling with some of the daily difficulties mentioned. The words filled my spirit and renewed by Lenten journey.
The excerpt is taken from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez. May these words bless your journey today.
The Cross in the little things each day.
"Occasionally we will meet the Cross in some great difficulty, in a serious and painful illness, in an economic disaster, in the of a loved one…do not forget that being with Jesus means we shall most certainly come upon his Cross. When we abandon ourselves into God’s hands, He frequently permits us to taste sorrow, loneliness, opposition, slander, defamation, and ridicule, coming both from within and from without. This is because He wants to mould us into his own image and likeness. He even tolerates our being called lunatics and our being taken for fools.
This is the time to love passive mortification, which comes, hidden perhaps, or barefaced and insolent, when we least expect it. Our Lord will give us the strength we need to carry that Cross with elegance and He will fill us with unimaginable graces and fruits. We will understand that God conveys his benedictions in many ways, and frequently blesses his friends by making them share in his Cross and making them co-redeemers with him.
However, we will normally find the Cross each day in the sort of petty annoyances that may occur at work, and which usually present themselves to us through people around us. It may be something unexpected, the difficult character of a person with whom we have to live, plans perhaps that have to be changed at the last minute, stubborn materials or instruments of work that fail us when we most need them. Discomfort, maybe caused by cold or heat, or noise…misunderstandings. A below-par seediness that impairs our efficiency on a particular day…
We have to accept these daily pinpricks courageously, offering them to God in a spirit of reparation without complaint. Those mortifications that crop up unexpectedly can help us, if we receive them well, to grow in the spirit of penance that we need so much, and to improve in the virtues of patience, of charity, of understanding: that is to say, in holiness. If we receive our setbacks with a bad spirit, it can cause us to rebel, or to become impatient or discouraged. Many Christians have lost their joy at the end of the day, not because of big reverses, but because they have not known how to sanctify the tiredness caused by work, or the little snags and minor frustrations which have arisen during the day. When we accept the Cross – little or great – it produces peace and joy in the midst of pain and is laden with merits for eternal life. Not accepting the Cross, the soul becomes thwarted or inwardly rebellious. This soon appears externally in the form of despondency and bad humour. To carry one’s Cross is something great. Great….It means facing up to life courageously, without weakness or meanness. It means that we turn into moral energy those difficulties which will never be lacking in our existence; it means understanding human sorrow; and, finally, it means knowing really how to love. The Christian who goes though life systematically avoiding sacrifice will not find God, and will not find happiness. What he will have been taking care to avoid is his own sanctity."