We will never understand the meaning of suffering completely as long as we remain on this temporal plane, until we come face to face with the One who allowed it into our lives. I don’t believe God created suffering. Christ exposed Himself to it through His free-will and His “yes”. It says in Scripture, Jesus overcame suffering and death. For Him, suffering was the enemy of the body, the mind and the spirit. Christ tried to explain where it came from. He taught us that it came from the disobedience of the human family at the beginning when man first walked on this Earth. He also taught that suffering would be with us until the end of time. Why? With Christ defeating it, it still remains on this physical plane. Those in charge of the propaganda machine instill in our mind the many ways they believe suffering can be avoided, but we all know through experience their instructions are faulty. Advertisers try to tell us we can avoid suffering if we only watch more movies especially fantasy movies. This is how Mr. Disney made his billions. There is a man from New York City who firmly believes and teaches we can avoid suffering if only we had more luxuries and more money. He has built a tower in his name, but his sadness is revealed in his eyes and the crowds follow this man as if he were a god. The travel industry is one of the wealthiest industries in the world. They tell us, suffering can be avoided if only we take more vacations. Most of us cannot afford long vacations to the Caribbean Islands. If we try, we fall short, then swim in a mountain of debt. So what becomes the answer? ‘All creation groans in silent expectation.”, states St. Paul. We all await the second coming of Christ Jesus, to be rescued from our own personal brokenness. In the meantime, where is it we can experience strength and endurance to carry on? I believe firmly and without reservation that it is through the Cross itself, our willingness to carry the Cross each day will indeed transform our world and bring the healing needed for future generations to live in peace. Christ Jesus tells us, “if we don’t accept carrying the Cross we cannot be His disciples”. This is a tremendous blow to our psyche and it shatters the false illusion that bliss can be ours if we only have the finances to purchase it. But, we know that life doesn’t work like that. The Cross follows us wherever we are. We can be on an expensive vacation and we suddenly get sick. We buy a beautiful car and somebody keys the paint job. We run 5 miles every day and the doctor tells us they found a tumor. The Cross has to be accepted if we desire salvation. Many of Christ Jesus’ followers turned away from His path after they heard these difficult words, “to be My disciple you have to pick up your Cross.” He teaches us it is only through suffering (carrying the Cross) we find life. Accepting the obstacles we find in our every day life should not make us more fearful. When we accept it we gain strength. This strength is grace. God takes the deepest enemy of all creation and transforms it into life giving grace and energy. He fills our soul with peace and an inner joy that can only come from the One who created us. So, the bottom line is, do not be afraid to pick up your Cross each day. Accept your Cross as a reality in your life. Be not afraid for Christ Jesus will be with us. Grace will be in us. Are you ready to accept this truth for your life, in your life? Are you open to a peace and inner joy that will only come by walking through the door of the Cross? Are you ready to be disciple of the Son of God?