The Cross: the antithesis of pleasure

A life of prayer is none other than a life lived in relationship. God in His infinite wisdom invites each of us into this relationship through the acceptance of suffering. Christ Jesus said to us, ‘To be My disciple you must pick up your Cross and follow Me”. The mystery of why He chose suffering as the main way to follow Him is actually quite simple to understand. Accepting suffering is daily life’s biggest challenge. It’s leaning over the abyss of a volcano or the climbing of the tallest mountain while being out of shape. We find our life full of ways in which we seek to avoid it. The “world” teaches us we are to avoid suffering at all cost. The world teaches suffering has no redeeming qualities. Yet, once we embrace the mystery of suffering and learn of its transformative properties, we begin to enter this relationship with an open loving God full of compassion and mercy. The mystery we enter becomes a delight and we learn, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Christ Jesus uses an analogy of a “yoke”. This instrument is designed to be used in relationship. When we are “yoked” together, we work together and the fields we plow are plowed together. Christ Jesus works with us to till the soil, a metaphor for our daily life. The yoke becomes more than just a symbol of relationship between creation with Creator, it becomes a union between Lover and the Beloved. Christ assures us that we do not walk through the difficulties of life alone. Christ is “yoked” to us in which the two of us have now become one. The contemplative life is not a one stop shop, living life becomes now an experience lived in union with the Divine. It is in our saying “yes” to this relationship each day that we enter into the darkness of Faith. A complete trust in our invisible God as He begins to gently reveal Himself through the action of our suffering. God willingly enters into the dirt and the muck we deal with each day as He transforms all of it much like a diamond is transformed in the earth. God walks right by our side carrying the Holy Cross right here with us. God is not afraid to step in the mud with us, to get dirty with us. But He waits to be invited. God does not force us into relationship, yet without Him life with all its struggles becomes nearly impossible. The weight of our Cross becomes an object that has the potential to crush us under itself. With or without Him, we must understand that daily suffering continues to exist. Suffering is buried deep into the very fabric of our life, as part of our very marrow. We learn this at a very early age, yet God continues to quietly and patiently reach His hand out toward us, inviting us into intimate Union where two hearts begin to beat as one. Thus, reminding us we never, ever have to walk alone. Have a most blessed day.

Love and Prayers,

Bro.Mark

Hermit of the Holy Cross