The Cross +

Each of us has a cross. (I’m not referring to those that are worn as jewelry or on our clothing or bodies; I’m referring to the challenges and hardships that we each face in our lives.)

The cross comes in various sizes and weights. Sometimes our cross may be heavy, while other times it may be light. Our cross may remain with us for our entire lives or only for a specific period of time. Some of us may even have multiple crosses to bear, which seems to be more common than we may realize.

For Christians, the cross is the key to our faith: Jesus conquered death on the cross and rose to new life. I’ve heard it said that there can be no resurrection without the cross.  

Christians are called to embrace and even venerate the cross. We see the most vivid image of this on Good Friday when Christians venerate the cross by kissing, holding and/or touching it in a loving way. What once was an instrument for punishment and death is now a symbol for redemption and hope.

This all sounds nice in theory, but do we actually put this into practice in our lives? Do we embrace our own crosses? Do we carry our cross with patience and courage, believing that we will persevere and share in the glory of Christ?

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What’s Your Purpose?

Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? 

If you’re like me, you think about this often. Ever since I was a child, I had this sense that there was something I was “meant” to do, someone I was “meant” to be.

As a teenager (when I had my life all figured out), I thought my purpose was to do well in high school, go to a reputable college and then get a prestigious job. I thought I would become financially successful and achieve high social status.

I eventually learned that I was following the path that I wanted, or thought I wanted, rather than the path that God intended for me. I failed to include Him in my “plan.”

It’s important to note that there’s nothing wrong with being financially successful. The reason this was a problem, and not the right path for me, was because my primary focus was on being “successful,” not on following God and being faithful to Him.)

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One of my favorite things to do is go to the church during the week. I find that it’s the only place where there is absolute silence (as long as nothing else is going on there at the time). Silence is something that I often long for; I need it!

Without experiencing moments of silence each day, I can’t find peace (and even finding peace on those days can still be a challenge). In our culture, silence is practically nonexistent. It’s almost seen as something undesirable—or even worse, not necessary or good. (I don’t think I have to go into much depth here. I’m sure you have an idea of what I’m talking about.)

Last Sunday, I arrived at the church about forty minutes before Mass was to begin in hopes of spending some much needed quiet time with Jesus. My attempt was in vain because the choir was practicing. Then as people began arriving, the noise in the church increased. One might assume that the church would be a place for silence, but I’ve found this to be true only during the week, not on Sunday.

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