Tuesday, Fifth Week of Lent
Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps." —Luke 9:23
"It is your privilege to take Christ's part — not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him." —Philippians 1:19
Talking with the children about the 2nd Station of the Cross:
Bearing Our Own Crosses
It's easy sometimes to think of "crosses" as meaning only the big, bad things that happen to us -- for instance, when you hear about someone who has contracted cancer or whose house has burned down. And, these types of calamity are, indeed, great crosses that some people bear. But, it's a funny thing among faithful Catholics: we generally bear the big crosses extraordinarily well, when all is said and done, but find ourselves falling a dozen times a day tripping up on the little crosses. It's easy to do. First of all, there are so many durn little inconveniences and irritations that they're easy to take for granted. We know that the supports of our Faith -- the grace of the sacraments, the intercession of the saints, understanding the value of penance -- can sustain us in the worst of times, but we forget to use them for all the hundred and one little crosses of our daily lives. We forget that working to bear the little troubles well also merit us grace. Too often we allow little irritations to wear us down, instead of remembering to pick them up and weightlift them in bundles for spiritual exercise.
St. Alphonsus prays in the second station: "I embrace all the sufferings You have destined for me until death. I beg you, by all You suffered in carrying Your cross, to help me carry mine with Your perfect peace and resignation..." You see, children, when St. Alphonsus has us to promise to carry our crosses in union with Christ in "perfect peace and resignation," he's not just talking about hurricanes, poverty, and death. He also means stubbed toes, ornery siblings, hard math problems, clogged drains, and bad nights' sleep. (Have the children add to this list -- and include good and bad ways of dealing with small crosses)
Always remember: The value of offering all the small crosses over a lifetime is just as important as offering the big crosses -- more important, perhaps, because they are always around -- scads of them. And they're so easily overlooked as potential graces.
And remember, too, that the dropping of these little crosses, in impatient words, grumpy attitudes, and whining, are not just missed opportunities, but can lead to habitual bad attitudes, which lead to sin. We'll be able to bear our big crosses with greater strength and grace if we practice by bearing our little crosses well.
And everyone around us is likely to be happier, too.
Sebastiano del Piombo, Jesus Carrying the CrossThe Second Station (St. Alphonsus de Liguori):
Jesus Accepts His Cross
V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider Jesus as He walked this road with the cross on His shoulders, thinking of us, and offering to His Father in our behalf, the death He was about to suffer. (Kneel)
R: My most beloved Jesus, / I embrace all the sufferings You have destined for me until death. / I beg You, by all You suffered in carrying Your cross, / to help me carry mine with Your perfect peace and resignation. / I love You, Jesus, my love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me separate myself from You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One
The Second Station (St. Francis of Asissi)
Jesus Carries His Cross
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
When our divine Redeemer beheld the Cross, He most willingly reached out to it with His bleeding arms. He embraced it lovingly, kissed it tenderly, took it on His bruised shoulders, and, exhausted as He was, He carried it joyfully.
O my Jesus, * I can not be Thy friend and follower * if I refuse to carry my cross. * O beloved cross, * I embrace Thee, * I kiss Thee, * I joyfully accept Thee from the hand of my God. * Far be it from me to glory in anything * save in the Cross of my Lord and Redeemer. * By it the world shall be crucified to me, * and I to the world, * that I may be Thine forever.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.
V. Lord Jesus, crucified.
R. Have mercy on us. O, how sad and sore distressed Was that Mother, highly blest, Of the sole begotten One!
Stational Church in Rome
Monday, Fifth Week in Lent: St. Crisogono in Trastevere
The church of St. Crisogono was one of the tituli, the first parish churches of Rome. It was probably built in the 4th century under Pope Silvester I (314–335), rebuilt in the 12th century by John of Crema, and again by Giovanni Battista Soria, funded by Scipione Borghese, in the early 17th century.Go here and here for more pictures of this beautiful Church.