The Great Gift of the Cross
Christ could have chosen many ways for us to get to heaven; in His infinite wisdom, He chose the cross. Today just about everyone wants a Christianity without the cross. How we react and act upon the cross in our lives will determine our eternal destiny. No one likes to suffer. Even Christ himself said to his Father: “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk 22:42).
For many years I have made a habit of making notes when I found interesting or important passages from Sacred Scripture, from the documents of the Church, from the writings of the saints as well from other sources. In this article I have put together some of these passages about the great gift of the cross for each of us, as well as my personal reflections, to help us arrive to true and lasting happiness with Jesus, Mary and all of the saints in heaven.
Christ crucified is at the center of the universe. How we react to the cross in our lives will determine success or failure. It all depends on how we confront the cross: if we rebel against the cross, or if we make an act of faith, gratitude and surrender to God for the cross as St. Therese and all the saints did.
The question is which direction are we going: toward Calvary with Jesus or sliding further away from Calvary. Each of us has received different a diversity of graces and also a different calling, an individual vocation. Each of us are at a certain point in our walk of life. But at any point, with whatever vocation, there is always the freedom to go forward or backward.
When the cross enters into our lives, some Christians grumble and lament, and seek other people to approve this refusal of the cross that God sends. Others look to God for meaning and help with the cross.
Nothing happens by chance. God, in his loving providence for each of us permits seemingly unjust things to happen to us for our true good. But we are free to become trusting and grateful children or rebellious people. Those who have maintained their faith, by persevering in prayer, know and believe that all that God sends or permits is for our good. Those truly in love with Christ Crucified, as Saint Paul and all the saints, realize that although the cross in and by itself is not a good, Christ in His infinite wisdom chose the cross as the instrument of salvation so as to acquire a higher good. The saints trust Jesus Who shares with us a little piece of His cross so as to offer us the opportunity to freely accept and embrace our cross, prepared precisely for each of us, so as to achieve a much higher good. Those who trust themselves instead of Jesus and who do not see with the eyes of faith the cross that Jesus gives us in his love, mercy and divine providence, refuse and reject the great gift of the cross, “the cornerstone rejected by the builders….” (Mt 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ps 118:22). It is impossible to overcome our slavery to our egoisms without accepting and embracing the gift of sufferings that God offers us.
When a Christian follows Jesus with the cross, he realizes how much there is to do in order to imitate Jesus, e and he grows in humility. Instead when one does not follow Jesus with the cross, one ends up putting himself up as a model for others and he goes around putting others straight according to himself as the model. The people who follow Jesus with their own cross see things and situations from the point of view of God instead from their own closed point of view.
When a person does not want to accept the cross that God has given in His mercy and love for this person, he seeks to get rid of his cross and often substitutes this cross with something else that does harm to him and to others. One way to get rid of one’s own cross is to focus on the sins of others, both near to us an those we read about, while becoming more and more blind to one’s own sins. A fundamental example, in particular in our times of the sexual revolution, is to leave the wife or the husband, without considering the consequences to the others, in particular for the children and for the people and society around us. When a person does not want to accept his cross from God but cannot free himself from this cross, often he ends up grumbling and complaining and murmuring as we read about in the Old Testament with the Israelites. This way of doing things usually increases the suffering and the psychological problems; confession costs a lot less than psychiatrists! And those people near who do not want to encourage this self-pity are accused of not loving, and are treated badly and criticized by this person. There is the saying: “Misery likes company”. Certainly, it is necessary to distinguish between consoling which edifies and encourages a person who suffers and wants to go forward, and consoling which does not help to go forward and to mature as a Christian but increases the self-pity. One must also distinguish between the people who suffer for others and are seeking to persevere, and the people who do not want to suffer for others.
One of the primary ways of avoiding our crosses, especially today in an atmosphere of almost total relativism, is to embrace the easier philosophy of life: “Ignorance is bliss”! It may be bliss at the moment to avoid the uncomfortable Truth and our responsibilities, but later there is a price to be paid here on earth and then even worse, after death!
A famous psychologist, Carl Jung, explained that at bottom all psychological problems are spiritual problems. The great majority of psychologists today do not believe in God and do not pray. And thus they offer only human solutions, non divine. In the end it is always worse, because they do not lead us toward God with the cross, but toward the world; the prince of the world is Satan (Jn 12:31; 14:30). If ones says no to God who created us and gives us his laws out of love and for out true good, obviously there will be negative consequences.
It is difficult to get to heaven! It is impossible to follow Jesus without the help of Jesus. When the disciples “were amazed at His words”, and even “exceedingly astonished”, Christ did not offer false and empty and destructive compromises as so many leaders in the Church today are offering to the gullible “Christians”, but rather said: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (Mk 10:23-27).
The saints say: “Those who pray save themselves; those who do not pray damn themselves!” When one does not pray, afterwards, it is impossible to overcome temptations, and one says, I can’t do it!
Athletes who do not work out during the week automatically lose the game on Sunday. Those who do not work out with prayer and continual sacrifices, automatically loose the eternal game.
Satan tells us the nice lie that heaven is automatic. The truth is that hell is automatic. To arrive to such a wonderful place, heaven, do we believe that it is not necessary to work, toil, study and sweat and even to give our earthly lives for a future eternity so beautiful? “The whole of man’s history has been the story of DOUR COMBAT with the powers of evil” (CCC 409).
Today, after the very strong promotion of secular feminism, in a great number of families, THERE IS LACKING A GOOD CHRISTIAN FATHER, who lives according to his vocation from God as the head of the family (and thus the graces of his vocation if he prays), in order to give a good example to the children especially in the years of formation from 0 to 12 years old, to sacrifice himself for his wife, the family and for the society, as did Jesus for His spouse, the Church. The vocation of the father of the family is not just to provide material things but above all to protect spiritually from the very numerous and powerful traps of the wolf, the devil, today. There is lacking today the voice that says “NO” to the things that do great harm to ourselves, to the family and to the society. Today it is not “politically correct” to explain false liberty which does great harm to oneself and to others; this false liberty tells us that we can do as we want to without seeking to discover if what we do can have secondary and hidden negative consequences for others. The Masonry has worked very hard to promote “politically correctness” so that we do not seek correctness according to God but according to those in power on this earth. Satan is “the prince of the world” (Jn 12:31; 14:30)! This is similar to THE PRIESTS TODAY WHO PREACH THE WHOLE GOSPEL and all of the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church are labeled ridged and old-fashioned, insensitive, lacking in compassion, divisive, judgmental, MORALISTS. While at the same time the ones who maintain a culpable silence, the ones who tell their people what they think they want to hear are seen as understanding, sympathetic, pastorally sensitive and merciful. “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you” (Lk 6:26). “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44; Gal 1:10). But this way of doing things is not true mercy! THIS IS FALSE LOVE, MISGUIDED COMPASSION, false mercy, false ecumenism, that does not lead to heaven for eternity!?! True love means to desire the greatest good possible for the other person; to help people to arrive to eternal happiness is much more important that earthly happiness that ends at death. True love means above all to help people to keep their eyes of Jesus and Mary, not on one’s self, to arrive to eternal happiness. A great number Christians today, surrounded and brainwashed by the mentality of today, strongly promoted by the mass media, offer human love in which the only thing that counts is to be happy here on this earth during this very short life! Today, not only a great number of lay people, but a great number of priests and bishops do not believe any more that the devil or hell exist, which is exactly what Satan wants as Father Gabriele Amorth and many other exorcists explain (“An Open Letter To A Fellow Priest”; http://testimony-polo.blogspot.com/2009/11/open-letter-to-fellow-priest.html)! Behold the mentality of today to be able to do as one likes without giving any thought about the consequences and without any responsibility towards God or towards neighbour.
It is said that the first commandment of the devil is: “You must not suffer!” Satan must eliminate the cross, the way to heaven! Today there is no trust in Jesus who says to take up your cross and follow Me; there is instead trust in oneself, in science, in the world. We are so totally surrounded by this mentality today that those who encourage with their example and with their words to follow Jesus with the cross toward Calvary in order to arrive to the resurrection are greatly criticized and judged and marginalized. This is why few people today are ready to suffer in order to be able to live the Gospel to love God and to love one’s neighbor. For this reason Our Lady of Fatima tells us to offer our prayers and our sacrifices for poor sinners before they fall into hell because there is no one who prays for them and offers sacrifices for them. Few people today are willing do as Jesus on the cross in order to offer graces of true conversion which means to change one’s life according to the Gospel explained by the Catechism of the Catholic Church for adults.
We are wired (created) by God to desire happiness. Thus if we have faith that the sufferings that God sends us is for OUR GREATER GOOD, and if we are faithful and generous, we accept the suffering. We rest not to escape from suffering but to regain our strength to continue to go forward with our cross, to deny ourselves in order to love God and neighbor.
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The Bible supplies us with examples of grumblers and the trouble they brought upon not only themselves but also many others.
A simple walk through the history of the Israelites as they made their exodus from Egypt and wandered in the desert for 40 years is rife with such examples. Let's review some of them.
Exodus 15:22-27. Only three days after being miraculously delivered through the parted Red Sea, the Israelites grumbled against Moses due to a lack of drinking water.
Exodus 17:1-7. Again, the Israelite community quarreled with Moses because there was no water to drink. Moses warned that they were putting the Lord to the test. Instead of listening, however, the people continued to grumble against Moses. Ignoring the fact Moses had followed God's instructions, they falsely accused him of bringing them out of Egypt to die.
Numbers 11:1-3. A year into their journey (Numbers 10:11), the people were again found complaining about their hardships. God heard it and became angry. How angry was He? Fire from the Lord burned among them and even consumed the outskirts of the camp! It was only after Moses prayed that the fire died down.
Numbers 11:4-35. The rabble with them began to crave other food and caused the Israelites to start wailing for meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. ("Rabble" refers to the non-Israelite mixed group of people who followed the Israelites out of Egypt.) This wailing came from people in every family!
Numbers 14. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron because 10 of the 12 men sent to check out the promised land came back with a poor attitude and no faith in God's ability to deliver what He had promised. Again, they wished they had died in Egypt or the desert. They began to plot about choosing another (their own) leader.
Numbers 16. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram became insolent and rose up against Moses. They gathered 250 council members (well-known community leaders) and opposed Moses and Aaron as a group. They alleged that the whole community was just as holy as Moses and Aaron, insinuating that Aaron hadn't really been appointed by God to be the high priest. They also accused Moses of trying to make slaves of them and not delivering on his promises. God prepared to destroy the whole assembly, but Moses pleaded with God to only punish the sinners. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, along with their entire families and all their belongings, were swallowed up by the earth. And the 250 council members who had rebelled were consumed by fire from the Lord. Even so, the very next day, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron, accusing them of killing the Lord's people! God immediately sent a plague upon the people. At God's instruction, Aaron offered incense and made atonement for the people, stopping the plague--but not before 14,700 more people died.
Numbers 21:4-9. “From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food." Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live”.
The Israelites became impatient on the way, a small cross. But “the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died”, but offered the solution “a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole”, which prefigured the future Messiah on the cross (Jn 3:13-17), that is, a cross, a suffering, much greater.
Psalm 106. This Psalm supplies an overview of the history of Israel, including their rebellion and grumbling. Here you can find the grumbling and its nasty consequences "in a nutshell."
Grumblers in the New Testament:
Examples of grumbling certainly aren't restricted to the Old Testament. There are several examples and commands in the New Testament concerning grumbling.
Matthew 20:1-16. In Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard, they grumbled when they received exactly what was promised and they had agreed upon when taking the job. Jesus' point here is that grumbling is equal to saying God is unfair and doesn't have the right to do as He sees fit.
Luke 5:30. The Pharisees and teachers of the law complained when Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.
John 6:41-70. The Jews grumbled about Jesus saying He came down from heaven. Jesus told them to stop grumbling among themselves. This led to an argument among the Jews and eventually to Jesus' disciples grumbling and many turned back from following Him. A little grumbling goes a long way. Listening to grumbling from outside the group can lead to grumbling within the group, and eventually to disunity.
1 Corinthians 10:10. We are commanded, "do not grumble."
Philippians 2:14. We are commanded, "do everything without complaining or arguing."
James 5:9. We are commanded, "don't grumble against each other." If we do, the penalty is that we'll be judged.
1 Peter 4:9. We are to offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Jude. This book is about those who have slipped in among Christians but really are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality. They are identified as grumblers and faultfinders who follow their own evil desires, boast about themselves, and flatter others for their own advantage.
Through this review of the scriptures, we can see how grumbling can start small but end up having a very big and very bad affect. We can surely identify with some of these examples ourselves. It can seem so natural to grumble. We can even delude ourselves into thinking that we need to grumble or are even entitled to grumble. But the fact of the matter is that God does not want us to grumble. He does want us to share our problems with Him, but it's all in the attitude. Think about the Israelites. Was there ever once an example in any of those cases we reviewed in which they first asked God for what they needed or wanted? No, in each case, they grumbled first, second, and last. And after the first couple of times, punishment followed their grumbling.
Even though God is very patient and loving, scripture makes it clear that there is a limit to the grumbling He will endure before there are serious consequences. It can be individual grumbling, family grumbling, community grumbling, or mass "official" grumbling, but it is all sin and unacceptable in God's eyes. Every time we grumble, we stumble. Worse, each time we grumble, we do so in the presence of at least one other person. And, as we see from the examples set forth in God's Word, that leads to others becoming "desensitized" to grumbling. The next thing you know, we have caused someone else to grumble and stumble. And then they "infect" someone else with the sin of grumbling, and on and on and on spreads the plague of grumbling and its far-reaching consequences.
Just as the Israelites were instructed in Exodus chapter 15, we would be wise to follow God's simple commands to (1) listen to the voice of God; (2) do right in God's eyes; and (3) pay attention to and keep His commands and decrees. If we do, we can manage not to grumble and stumble.
A good example in the Old Testament of one who accepted and embraced well the sufferings that God sent him was Joseph of Egypt. Joseph was rejected by his family, thrown down a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape by the wife of his master, imprisoned. He helped people in prison, but nothing coming back. In the midst of this story there is a line, and this line is for you and me: “God was with Joseph” (Gen 39:2).
Whenever we are going through suffering, God is with us, when the suffering is for His plan and purpose to come forth in our life.
Afterwards Joseph is brought out of prison, he is placed in a high position for Egypt at that time.
While Joseph is going through this God-given process, what was Joseph’s attitude? Joseph does not curse that fact that his brothers abandoned him and was thrown in prison. He does not curse the fact that he was accused of rape. He does not curse it and he does not nurse it. When we start to nurse something, it starts to grow in us, it literally grows. And how does it grow? We continue to rehearse it, we say it over and over in our minds. And that which was a small thing, all of a sudden comes this huge giant in our lives, this giant of un-forgiveness, or of resentment, or bitterness. It could just swallow us up, and it just suffocates life in us. But Joseph does not nurse it, he does not curse it and he does not rehearse it. What does he do? He disperses it to God. Joseph trusts God more than himself. And what does God do? God reverses it. That which could have been a stumbling stone in his life, becomes a stepping stone into the very thing God was preparing him to do which was to feed his people in a time of famine.
But see the process he had to go through. Was it fair? No it was not fair. Life is not fair. God is fair. But as he partook of what he was going through, he was one in preparation who would literally give life to his own family who had rejected him and sold him into slavery.
Joseph had two sons; one was called Manasseh. And here is the point where Joseph allowed his suffering to be fulfilled in the perfect plan and purpose of God. Manasseh means: “for God has made me forget all my hardship” (Gen 41:51). He forgot the problems of the past; he forgot the difficulty that happened. Only God can make us forget at that level.
Joseph’s other son, Ephraim, means: “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen 41:52). When we look back over our lives, some of the most difficult hard times, the times of great suffering, as we look back, we can see how the Spirit of the Lord, how the hand of the Lord, was taking us through these times to perfect us, to confirm us, to establish us, to strengthen us, to develop character in us, to prepare us for works the Lord had prepared for us to do.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (our identity), which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).
“For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you” (2Cor 4:11-12).
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39).
Saint Paul is a free man because he is ready to die for Jesus, and thus no none can take away his interior peace. Paul totally trusts in the love and the providence of God. The more we arrive at this Christian maturity, the more we are not worried about the future or “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword”! If we do not go in this direction of maturity, when the cross arrives in our lives, we complain, as if God made a mistake in sending us the gift of the cross, as well as having more and more anxiety and less interior peace! The choice is ours as to which direction we want to go: more trust in our own intelligence and human wisdom, or more trust in God!
And one of the greatest works that we can do here on earth is to pray and offer our sacrifices for the souls, for the salvation of other people, especially those who have been entrusted to us, whether it is sons and daughters, loved ones, our own family, extended family. We have a sacred duty, we have a sacred trust to bring them to the Lord everyday in our prayer time, especially before the Blessed Sacrament and in our Holy Rosaries.
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Here are a few passages from Sacred Scripture, from the documents of the Church, from the writings of the saints as well from other sources:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done" (Mt 16:24-28; Lk 9:23).
“For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1Cor 1:22-25).
Papal Wisdom: “Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.” – Pope John Paul II.
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men." (Mt 16:21-23).
When the disciples “were amazed at His words”, and even “exceedingly astonished”, Christ did not offer false and empty and destructive compromises as so many leaders in the Church today are offering to the gullible “Christians”, but rather said: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God” (Mk 10:23-27).
“SUFFERING IS THE GREATEST TREASURE ON EARTH; it purifies the soul. In suffering, we learn who our true friend is. True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering. Jesus, I thank You for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans. Thank You, Jesus, for interior sufferings, for dryness of spirit, for terrors, fears and incertitudes, for the darkness and the deep interior night, for temptations and various ordeals, for torments too difficult to describe, especially for those which no one will understand, for the hour of death with its fierce struggle and all its bitterness. I thank You, Jesus, You who first drank the cup of bitterness before You gave it to me, in a much milder form. I put my lips to this cup of Your holy will. Let all be done according to Your good pleasure; let that which Your wisdom ordained before the ages be done to me. I want to drink the cup to its last drop, and not seek to know the reason why. In bitterness is my joy, in hopelessness is my trust. In You, O Lord, all is good, all is a gift of Your paternal Heart. I do not prefer consolations over bitterness or bitterness over consolations, but thank You, O Jesus, for everything! It is my delight to fix my gaze upon You, O incomprehensible God! My spirit abides in these mysterious dwelling places, and there I am at home. I know very well the dwelling place of my Spouse. I feel there is not a single drop of blood in me that does not burn with love for You. O Uncreated Beauty, whoever comes to know You once cannot love anything else. I can feel the bottomless abyss of my soul, and nothing will fill it but God himself. I feel that I am drowned in Him like a single grain of sand in a bottomless ocean. (Diary of St. Faustina, no. 342-343; 774).
“Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful , how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace. This is the final profit to be gained from patient endurance. No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men” (St. Rose of Lima; Office of Readings; August 23).
“Would that men might at last understand that it is impossible to attain to the ticket of manifold riches of the wisdom of God without entering into the ticket of manifold suffering, making that its consolation and desire! And how the soul which really longs for divine wisdom first longs for suffering, that it may enter more deeply into the thicket of the cross! For this reason Saint Paul encouraged the Ephesians not to lose heart in tribulations, but to be strengthened, and rooted in love, that they might have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth; and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that they might be filled with all the fullness of God. For the gat whereby one may enter into these riches of his wisdom is the narrow gate of the cross. Many long for the delights to which that gate leads: but few they are indeed who are prepared to pass through it” (St. John of the Cross; 14 December; Office of Readings)
The cross is called the glory of Christ, and his exaltation; it is the chalice for which he longed, the consummation of his sufferings on our behalf. It is the glory of Christ – listen to his words: ‘Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him, and God will glorify him at once” (Jn 13:31-32)” (From the homilies of St. Andrew of Crete, bishop; September 14; Office of Readings).
Do we believe to arrive to the glory of heaven without following Jesus with the cross?
“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis
“Today I heard the words: In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I USE PUNISHMENT WHEN THEY THEMSELVES FORCE ME TO DO SO; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy. I replied, "O my Jesus, speak to souls Yourself, because my words are insignificant." (Diary of Saint Faustina, no. 1588).
“Jesus complained to me of how painful to Him is the unfaithfulness of chosen souls, and My heart is even more wounded by their distrust after a fall. It would be less painful if they had not experienced the goodness of My heart. I saw the anger of God hanging heavy over Poland. And now I see that if God were to visit our country with the greatest chastisements, that would still be great mercy because, for such grave transgressions, He could punish us with eternal annihilation. I was paralyzed with fear when the Lord lifted the veil a little for me. Now I see clearly that chosen souls keep the world in existence to fulfill the measure [of justice]” (Diary of Saint Faustina, no. 1532-1533).
No pain no gain; no cross no crown!
Alleluia, dear Father _____ ! Our great vocation is to share with Jesus everything, also his passion and crucifixion! But afterwards is the true eternal resurrection, the true EASTER! There is no resurrection without the crucifixion; there is no Easter without Good Friday!
The True Easter!
Our Lady not only indicates to her beloved sons (the priests) the way to follow, but she also gives the medicine of which all of us have need of, in these time in which we are surrounded by much evil, especially with the sins of impurity, Satan gathers in a great number of victims. She gives us the remedy in order to be healed from these wounds which, especially in the priestly souls, block out every virtue.
“Give me all your suffering. Today it is the misunderstandings, the attacks, the calumnies of your brothers. Tomorrow it will be persecutions, imprisonment, condemnations on the part of atheists and enemies of God who will see in you the obstacles that must be eliminated. Walk with me, and follow me along the path of my Son Jesus, along the way of Calvary, along the way of the Cross. Never as in these moments will you have to live so profoundly that which is the vocation of every Christian: 'He who wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me!' (Mt 16:24). Follow me, beloved sons: today it is necessary to follow your Mother if you want to travel without fear the path of my Son Jesus." (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; May 28, 1976). (“To The Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”; http://our-lady-priests.blogspot.it/).
“Jesus does not ask for great achievements: only surrender and gratitude.” - St. Therese of Lisieux
“Now, water without the proclamation of the cross of the Lord is of no avail for future salvation; but after it has been consecrated by the mystery of the saving cross, it is make ready to serve as a spiritual washing and as a cup of salvation” (St. Ambrose; OT 15, Tuesday; Office of Readings).
“… The sweet Cross will be the refuge of Christians … the Cross will be so luminous that in full daylight it will be brighter than the sun; during the night it will not go out, it will stretch out over an immense distance … A red cloud and a rumble of thunder will pass through the whole sky … due to the expiation which have been offered to me I delay the disaster.” – November 21, 1912, Jesus’ message to Maria Giulia Jahenny, Blain in Francia (stigmatist).
“Before the great tribulation there will be a sign. We will see in the heavens a great red cross during a day with a calm sky, without clouds. The red color represents the Blood of Jesus which redeemed us and the blood of the martyrs chosen by God in these days of darkness. This cross will be seen by all: Christians, pagans, atheists, etc. and also by all those who are “prepared” (there are people who even though they never heard of the Gospel have the voice of God imprinted in the sanctuary of their consciences) who will be guided by God toward Christ. These will receive the grace to interpret the meaning of the cross.” – September 11, 1987, account written by Fra’ David Lopez about the revelations of Our Lady received by him at Medjugorje
“Write this: before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day” (Diary of St. Faustina, no. 83).
“Share my suffering, privileged sons of mine. At the time when the whole world was once for all redeemed and purified, the Father accepted the Son's divine suffering together with my human suffering of the Mother. Your suffering, my sons, is truly contributing to the purification of the earth. If the chastisement comes, it will be only as an ultimate and solemn demand for suffering to bring about the renewal of the world and the salvation of so many poor children of mine. But nothing contributes so much to the triumph of my Immaculate Heart as a priestly heart which suffers. In you, my sons, it is Jesus who continues his mission of purification. Only his blood can wash away all the evil, all the hatred and all the sin of the world. And so, now that the moment of the purification is here, you will be called upon to suffer more and more. For you, my sons, this is the hour of the cross. But you will suffer with me, with your Mother who begot you under the Cross. Be ever with me, in the present moment which the Father gives you: to offer and to suffer in the Heart of your sorrowful Mother" (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; May 28, 1976).
“Their only concern is exclusively directed toward social problems, and they forget that Jesus died on the Cross and rose again to obtain for you the great gift of redemption and to save souls. And thus the teaching of the theology of liberation, which is a true betrayal of Christ and of his Gospel” (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; February 25, 1988).
“I should hope that you would not be counted among their number. Their homes are peaceful and complacent. They live in security and never feel the touch of the Lord’s rod. They pass their days in plenty and in the end go straight to hell.” (Saint Raymund of Penyafort, breviary, January 7).
Sister Mary Gabriel (in purgatory) communicated to Sister Mary of the Cross:
December 8th - 2:00 o'clock - The Immaculate Conception - Alas, how many lives seem to be filled with good works and at the death are found empty. This is because all those actions that appeared to be good, all those showy works, all that conduct that seemed irreproachable - all these were not done for Jesus alone. Some will have their eyes opened when they come here to this life (in Purgatory). On earth they wanted to be made much of, to shine, to be thought very exact in religious observances, to be esteemed as perfect religious. This is the mainspring of so many lives. If you only knew how few people work for God and act for Him alone. Alas, at death, when they are no longer blinded, what regrets they will have. If only sometimes they would think of eternity. What is life compared to that day which will have no evening for the elect, or to that night which will have no dawning for the damned? On earth, people attach themselves to everything and everyone except to Him, who alone ought to have our love and to whom we refuse it. Jesus in the Tabernacle waits for souls to love Him and He finds none. Hardly one soul in a thousand loves Him as it should. You love Him and make up to Him for this guilty indifference which exists all over this world.
(December 8, 1879; “A Manuscript On Purgatory”; http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com).
“On a certain occasion, I understood how very displeased God is with an act, however commendable, that does not bear the stamp of a pure intention. Such deeds incite God to punishment rather than to reward. May such deeds be as few as possible in our lives; indeed, in religious life, there should be none at all. I accept joy or suffering, praise or humiliation with the same disposition. I remember that one and the other are passing. What does it matter to me what people say about me? I have long ago given up everything that concerns my person. My name is host-or sacrifice, not in words but in deeds, in the emptying of myself and in becoming like You on the Cross, O good Jesus, my Master” (Diary of St. Faustina, no. 484-485).
“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Phil 3:18-19).
“For it was to strengthen your heart that he came to suffer, he came to die, to be spattered with spittle, to be crowned with thorns, to listen to insults, finally to be fixed to the wood of the cross. He suffered all these things for you; you have suffered nothing. They were not for his benefit but for yours. What kind of pastors are they who, fearing to hurt those they speak to, not only do not prepare them for imminent temptations, but even promise the happiness of this world, which God did not promise to the world itself?” (Sermon of St. Augustine on the Shepherds; Office of Readings, Week 24, OT, Friday).
“For that supreme wisdom, which flowered on the cross, proved that the proud boasting of worldly wisdom was folly. The beauty of all the good gifts which grew on the cross cut out the shoots of evil. … In the cross every apostle has gloried; by it every martyr has been crowned and every saint made holy” (Addresses of St. Theodore the Studite, abate; Easter, Week 2, Friday).
“Jesus-Host, if You Yourself did not sustain me, I would not be able to persevere on the cross … “(Diary of St. Faustina, no. 1620).
“It is the soul that God loves most that He crucifies on earth, but this cross sent by God has always a certain sweetness mingled with its bitterness. It is not so with the crosses that come to us through our own fault; in them we find unmixed bitterness” (May 1886; “A Manuscript On Purgatory”; http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com).
Cardinal Palazzini wrote about Saint Veronica Giuliani: “That of Veronica is a great prophetic message which seems really reserved for out times: to correct the dangerous deviations of those who seek a Christianity without the Cross, of those who whimsically settle into abundance of those consumer goods of which Christ moderation for everyone, and for the strong renouncement”.
It is very difficult for priests today to offer “the truth” which “sets us free” (Jn 8:32; Jer 6,16), because so many people are used to by now a Christianity without the cross. According to POPE PAUL VI the temptation perhaps more aggressive in our times, which means “to empty the Cross of Christ” (1Cor 1:17), is hedonism, that is wellbeing, entertainment, pleasure, licentiousness, vice, uplifted to the abusive honor of primary finality of human existence” (Catechism, November 26, 1975).
“The maximum cupidity of the demons is deception. In fact they succeed to possess only those who they seduce with the lie” (Saint Augustine; The City of God, 4:32).
“Every deed of Christ is a cause of glorying to the Catholic Church, but her greatest of all glorying is in the cross; and knowing this, Paul says, ‘But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Gal 6:16). … Let us then not be ashamed of the cross of our Savior, but rather glory in it. ‘For the word of the cross is a stumbling-block to Jews and folly to Gentiles’ but to us salvation: and ‘it is folly to them that are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’. For it was not a mere man who died for us, as I said before, but the Son of God, God made man. … Do not rejoice in the cross in time of peace only, but hold fast to the same faith in time of persecution also; do not be a friend of Jesus in time of peace and his foe in time of wars” (From the Catecheses of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, bishop; Week 4, Thursday).
Father Benedict Groschel said: “You love Jesus as much as you love an ungrateful beggar that you did everything to help.”
"I ought to seek the company of those Sisters who according to nature please me least.” - St. Therese of Lisieux
And a moment later, the Infant Jesus disappeared from the arms of His Mother, and I saw the living image of Jesus Crucified. The Mother of God told me to do what She had done, that, even when joyful, I should always keep my eyes fixed on the cross, and She told me that the graces God was granting me were not for me alone, but for other souls as well” (Diary of St. Faustina, no. 561).
“My sacrifice is nothing in itself, but when I join it to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it becomes all-powerful and has the power to appease divine wrath. God loves us in His Son; the painful Passion of the Son of God constantly turns aside the wrath of God” (Diary of St. Faustina, no. 482).
“I want to carry out this action today through you, my beloved sons. This is why I have wanted to withdraw myself into I desert of your life, where I have set up my safe refuge. In this way I mold you as Mother so that, through you, I may carry out the great work of co-redemption. And so, I call you prayer, to the perfect offering of yourselves, to suffering, to self-immolation. I lead you along the way of the cross, and gently I help you to climb Calvary in order to transform you all into sacrificial victims, pleasing to the Father, for the salvation of the world. This is the time of my silent action. In the desert of your life, I daily work the great prodigy of transforming you more and more, that Jesus Crucified may again live in each one of you” (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; July 13, 1980).
“I am your sorrowful Mother. The sword, which pierced my Heart beneath the Cross, continues to wound me through the great suffering which the Church, the Mystical Body of my Son Jesus, is living through at the present time. All the sufferings of the Church are in my Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart. It is in this way that I still carry out today my maternal duty, begetting in pain this Daughter of mine, to a new life. For this reason the function of the Mother becomes ever more important at the present time of its painful purification. All the sufferings of the Pope, the bishops, the priests, of consecrated souls, and of the faithful are enclosed in my motherly Heart. I too share with you in living out these hours of great pain. And the passion of my Son continues in his Mystical Body. Today, with Him, for the Church I relive the very hours of Gethsemane, of Calvary, of the crucifixion and of his death. Have trust and patience; have courage and hope! Soon from our pain will rise a new era of light. The Church will again flourish, under the powerful influx of the love of God..." (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; September 15, 1980).
“Live together with me each day, to be comforted in the carrying of your cross and in following Jesus all the way to Calvary” (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; April 1, 1988).
“How he loves you, this beloved son of mine! He is one of the greatest gifts that I give you, and you will understand this later on. He will be called upon to wear himself out on a cross of true martyrdom, a martyrdom of love and of pain, which will make him into a living copy of my crucified Son. Let him not be troubled over the difficulties that surround him. They are allowed by God for his sanctification. Let him always pronounce his generous and total “yes”. This is so necessary and pleasing to me” (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; June 21, 1974).
“As for one, so also for all the priests of my Movement. All little children, nourished, kissed, caressed and cradled by me. So that I may place them all, with much love, on the wood of their cross, I must prepare them for this ineffable and painful moment. They, like my Son Jesus, will have to be immolated on the cross for the salvation of the world. Let them entrust themselves therefore to me like little children. The Heart of their Mother will be the altar on which they will be immolated, victims acceptable to God for his triumph" (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; November 19, 1974).
March 28, 1975; Good Friday; The Way of the Cross:
"The reason why I have wanted you here today, far from all preoccupations and activities, is that you might remain alone with my Son Jesus. The path along which I wish to lead my beloved sons, the priests who are consecrated to my Immaculate Heart and who belong to the Movement, is that of the Cross. I want them all on the Cross with my Son, in prayer and in suffering. This is the road that Jesus took to carry out the work of redemption and to save all men. This is the road which the priests called to form my cohort must follow, in order that men redeemed by my Son, but snatched from Him by Satan, may yet be saved today through a special intervention of this motherly Heart of mine. The way of the Cross, my little children, is the only way that I have traced out for you because it is that which your Mother has first traveled, together with her Son Jesus. journey along it without fear, because you will be led by the hand, by me, enheartened by my motherly tenderness. Journey along it with me, in my Immaculate Heart; near your cross you will thus feel the presence of your Mother who will comfort and help you. This road must be traveled by you, because only in this way can you become similar to my Son Jesus in all things. My duty is that of making you in every way similar to Him. Now that I have detached you from everything to make you ready to do the Will of the Father, and formed you once again into little children to make you priests according to the Heart of Jesus, the time has come when you are being called to climb Calvary with Him. This is the hour of Calvary for my Church, for the Holy Father, and for all the priests who want to be faithful to my Son and to the Gospel. But it is also, beloved sons, your most beautiful hour for which I have prepared each one of you for a long time. Say with me: `Yes, Father, your Will be done!' (cf. Mt 26:39). Even if this hour is one of darkness, you are called by me to reflect the light of the Will and the plan of the Father. You will be called to bear witness to the fatherhood and the merciful love of God. This then is your hour, and this is why I am calling you to nothing but prayer, suffering and a total immolation of yourselves. Forget every other preoccupation, and entrust yourselves to me; and by your great love, second this plan of my Immaculate Heart" (Our Lady to Don Stefano Gobbi; March 28, 1975).
“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:5-8)!
“Now the order of the Levites is more glorious, the dignity of the elders more exalted, and the anointing of the priests more holy: for your cross is the source of all blessings, the cause of all graces. Through it those who believe receive strength from weakness, glory from shame, life from death” (Office of Readings; From the sermons of Pope St. Leo the great; Lent, Week 5, Tuesday).
Chiara Lubich tells us that suffering is the personal presence of Jesus Crucified in our lives!
Chiara Lubich: “I have only one Spouse on earth”
This is a prayer written by Chiara on the 20th September 1949 after a time of special grace in her life and the life of the Focolare Movement
During the summer of 1949 Chiara Lubich, who was 29 years old at the time, had an experience of light and life. Leaving that “paradise” up in the mountains was very difficult, but she understood that God wanted her to be immersed in the sufferings of humanity “drying up the waters of tribulation” in those who suffer the most. There and then she wrote these words:
“I have only one Spouse on earth: Jesus Forsaken.
I have no other God but Him.
In Him there is the whole of Paradise with the Trinity
and the whole of the earth with Humanity.
Therefore what is His is mine, and nothing else.
And His is universal Pain, and therefore mine.
I have no other God but Him.
In Him there is the whole of Paradise with the Trinity
and the whole of the earth with Humanity.
Therefore what is His is mine, and nothing else.
And His is universal Pain, and therefore mine.
I will go through the world seeking Him in every instant of my life.
What hurts me is mine.
Mine the pain that grazes me in the present. Mine the pain of the souls beside me (that is my Jesus). Mine all that is not peace, joy, beautiful, lovable, serene… in a word, what is not Paradise. Because I too have my Paradise, but is that in my Spouse’s heart.
I know no other.
So it will be for the years I have left: athirst for pain, for anguish, for despair, for sadness, for separation, for exile, for forsakenness, for torment, for… all that is Him, and He is Sin, Hell.
In this way I will dry up the waters of tribulation in many hearts nearby and, through communion with my almighty Spouse, in many far away.
I shall pass as a Fire that consumes all that must fall and leaves standing only the Truth.
But it is necessary to be like Him: to be Him in the present moment of life.”
But it is necessary to be like Him: to be Him in the present moment of life.”
From: Chiara Lubich, The Cry, Ed. New City London (pp. 61-2)
“On this earth everyone has his cross. But we must act in such a way, that we be not the bad, but the good thief” – Saint Padre Pio
Pope John Paul II warned us in 1976: “We are standing before today the greatest fight that humanity has ever seen. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY HAS TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD THIS. We are TODAY before the FINAL CONFRONTATION between the Church and the anti-Church, between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel”.
Pope John Paul II said to a group of pilgrims in Fulda, West Germany, in November 1980, speaking about the secrets of Fatima, that: “We have to be prepared to suffer, before long, great trials which will require of us the disposition to sacrifice even our life for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is still possible to diminish this trial (predicted at Fatima), but it is no longer possible to avert it, because only in this manner can the Church be effectively renewed. How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.”
Soon No More Eucharist
Take courage friends. Jesus and Mary are nearer to us when we are in great suffering if we continue to pray and do not lose hope. The next few years will be more difficult than in any time in human history. We are the “generation” (Mt 24:34) of which Jesus spoke about: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt 24:21)! We must not neglect the simple things that we learned as children: a good monthly confession with an examination of conscience based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for adults (not the TV), the Holy Mass every Sunday, and to pray the Holy Rosary everyday and to seek to live what we pray.
May God bless you!
Father Joseph Dwight
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There is less prayer than ever before, more sin than ever before, even worse, indifference as if sin no longer exists, and so we have given much greater power to “the father of lies”, Satan (Jn 8:44). In particular Satan has more power to “disguise himself as an angel of light” (2Cor 11:14), to offer his very deadly beautiful lies as if they were the “truth that sets us free” (Jn 8:32)!
Thus it is very important in these times of great confusion, when even Catholic bishops are no longer in agreement about the fundamentals of our faith and morals, to not only pray much and to study the Catechism of the Catholic Church for adults, but to keep our eyes open so as not to fall into the beautiful lies of Satan presented as if they were the Truth!
FOR UPDATES on some of these fundamental, hidden, and disguised deceptions of the ancient serpent, visit one of my index web sites to see the more important, latest articles:
(as well as the DOCUMENTS REGARDING ECCLESIAL APPROVAL of the TESTIMONY OF GLORIA POLO):