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The Way of the Cross: Reflection

"If anyone wishes to follow me, let him take up his own cross daily and follow me" (Lk 9:23).

It is not a matter of attaining perfection and following Christ. We all have our burdens and crosses—and we may choose to bear them or succumb to them.

Rather than a prideful march after Him it is a slow procession. The addict, the liar, the angry, and the weak follow after Him. It is a royal procession of poor souls. Christ fell under the weight of sin and we do also—we both are made painfully aware of the crippling effect of sin. Yet He rose, so we also must rise if we are to follow Him.

Some fall a few times, others fall often. As we journey, the vice itself (or vices) is the cross. The weight of that cross, that weight which, as time progresses, grinds us into the earth, is shame and fear. Christ conquered by carrying His cross and reaching his final destination. He did so despite the taunts and ridicule he endured—"let him save himself" they said. One may liken it to others who say "why do you even care about that?" Those who say such things have their eyes focused on the earth like common animals who only live for their next meal. Those who focus on Christ look forward and up, both to their suffering and to their victory.

Why, then, is the 'burden light' (Mt 11:30)? Some burdens become lighter as we bear them for a great while: the poor are content to eat whereas those accustomed to eating fine things complain over lower quality. Some burdens persist and, indeed, they are cause for a great deal of grief—yet they are also a cause for contemplation, a chance to learn, and a chance to grow. This is true because "it was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your ways" (Ps 119:72). We are broken, just as Peter, Paul, the Apostles, and many great saints were broken. But, whereas the earthen vessel that Jeremiah smashed could never be reconstructed by human hands, the Lord can turn even a desert into a fertile plain. Rather than fear or deny our weaknesses we should remember that "the Lord is patient with men and showers upon them His mercy. He sees them and understands that their death is grievous, and so He forgives them all the more" (Sir 18:9-10). We realize in life that when a burden is too great we seek help. We need His help and we need each other.

Once more, why and how is this burden light? Hope—His promise of mercy gives us cause to rise again and again. He reassures us that the proper sacrifice to God is a "broken spirit." Should we forget that the thief who hung on the cross, "justly accused for his crimes," asked the Lord remember him and it was granted to him? Like that thief and like the saints and martyrs who conquered it is not our fate to be broken forever. Those who lie on the ground by choice shall remain on the ground, festering in anger and malice—those who rise are rebuilt; those who rise once more know compassion. For with our sins the Lord "taught [His] people, by [His] deeds, that those who are just must be kind" (Wis 12:18). "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"— in our dealings with one another, do not forsake justice, but forgive one another and be kind. You will be acting as the Father does for us. By lifting the cross of another, that is, forgiving and guiding them towards Christ, Christ too lifts our own cross.

-M
The, perhaps, "unripe" fruit of a silent retreat (5.5 days). I have a few others that need elaboration. Naturally, this piece is more prayerful in tone, more encouraging to those who faith (especially my Catholic brethren).

This came from my reflections on my own (numerous) weaknesses. Of course, in examining that selfsame atheistic critique that we "feel, unthinkingly, in solidarity" I respond that our virtues, our way of life may indeed look "heavenward" but it never should nor does forsake the ground beneath us.

In fact, we are weighed to the ground by the crosses we carry--that is our vices, dispositions, culture-weaknesses, etc. Rather than hide, deny, or feed them we are called (as soldiers) to confront them.

Though imperfect I hope this also helps you reflect.

______

Edit 1: Cleaned up a few spacing problems and syntax.
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:iconj-mes:
J-Mes Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011
This is real stuff touches the heart in more ways than one.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
thanks for reading
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:iconneoconvoy:
Neoconvoy Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011  Student General Artist
Really good!

Thanks for sharing.

Blessings!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
thanks for the support as always.
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:iconmoombeam36:
Moombeam36 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Beautifully done, God bless
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much, and likewise for yourself on His day.
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:iconvioletasilvestre2011:
violetasilvestre2011 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2011
I enjoyed it!I hope to remember what was the thing Jesus had to do in the cross.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
thank you for reading and fav'ing
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:iconvioletasilvestre2011:
np
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:iconrockangel93:
RockAngel93 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my goodness!!! I ADORE THIS ONE!!! Thank you very much. May the Lord bless you!!
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much for the enthusiastic response. Likewise for the fav.

It's much appreciated!



You don't have to read this of course, but you may also enjoy this brief reflection on Scripture: [link]
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:iconcalleighblack:
CalleighBlack Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
My husband and I really enjoyed this piece and we've been discussing it in between songs in the studio. Thank you for not only making a great piece, but also giving us something of worth to discuss because sadly, studio conversations sometimes degenerate into technical advisories only. And while that is good, I've enjoyed talking about something different.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm happy you both liked it! My friend is in the studio all the time, so I know as an un-initiate to that sort of atmosphere, the language gets technical and heavy very quickly.

I'll be serving another one up in a little bit, tonight, tomorrow, or Sunday.

Thanks for taking the time to read my little thoughts.
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:iconcalleighblack:
CalleighBlack Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I love it, and I've been around the business a long time, but I do get bored sometimes.

If I don't get to it immediately, please know I will read it, but we're flying home in a few hours, and it's almost 24 hours in the air, so we'll see it when we get home.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Well, of course, have a safe flight and I will be sure to let you know when I do finish it up.
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:iconkajm:
Kajm Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
'Some burdens persist and indeed, like myself, they are cause for a great deal of grief'

Errrr, something needs to change in that phrase. Otherwise I find this quite faveable. It is quite accurate, and it points up one the Major failings of those who seek to discredit those of us who Believe in a Higher Authority- but that is their cross to bear.
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hm... I see what you're saying. I'll change that. I was fumbling around with ways of wording it, but at this indication, I removed reference to me altogether.

Thank you for reading and catching that confusing bit.
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:icondanilee3240:
Danilee3240 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2011
Favvo!!!!!

Very nice reflection, methinks, and nice integration of quotes. I think this reflection and applicable to absolutely everyone. :]
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Many thanks, Frau Favvo.


It could probably be elaborated upon, but as a bite-size reflection I hope it's helpful.

Thanks as always.
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:icondanilee3240:
Danilee3240 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011
FUFF. :UUUUUU
:hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart: :hug: :heart:

elaborated? For a short I think it was pretty concise and clean, which is difficult to master. What would you elaborate on, if you do not mind my asking?
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Hm... I probably would want to explore the interior aspect of carrying one's cross--i.e., an elaboration of the things we must overcome. But that comes with experience and at the moment I feel I lack experience.

I probably could have incorporated Scripture, but it's not one of my strong suits as of yet.


The whole period of the Babylonian Exile and destruction of Judea was a period of superb theological reflection. I've almost finished reading Jeremiah and hope to construct a habit/schedule where I can read all of Scripture over the course of (realistically) a year.


That's what strikes me, at least looking at it.

Also, thank you for thinking so. So, in hindsight, just minor elaborations.
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:icondanilee3240:
Danilee3240 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011
Fascinating. Please inform me if you decide to expland on this, or write a separate article! :D
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:icontesm:
TESM Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
will do!

I'm also working on "Interpretation part II"

A Historical look at Scripture broken up into three sections

-Failure: why we fail and why we could never fail (modern critique)
-On Triumph that Inspired and Failures that Conquered
-[tentative] What we must conquer

I wrote part 1 of this before this piece, and incorporated a bit here and there into this piece. On Interpretation is already longer than this, but needs some work.

I may incorporate what I said into this upcoming piece, or do a whole new one.

Thanks as always
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