Taking Up Our Cross


carrying-the-cross-dailyA reflection  on the Responsorial Psalm for today (PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6) and the Gospel (LK 9:22-25)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Next to the death of someone I love, the next worst thing is losing a friendship. Last November, I lost a friend, and it wasn’t an ordinary friend. It was someone that I cared very deeply about. This is the friendship which  Aristotle was referring to when he said, “A friend in one soul in two bodies.” And that kind of friend can never be replaced. My “friend,” however, has made it perfectly clear, that this is permanent. And that this cannot be changed. To put it mildly, I am like a lost puppy.

Still, I am a strong believer in the power of prayer, especially at the Holy Mass, where I, since my conversion to this day, am always moved to tears when the priest lifts the precious host and then the chalice. “My Lord, and My God.”

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”

Since the day of what I now refer to as “the bad thing”  at every Mass I attend, when the host is lifted, I pray for forgiveness from my friend knowing it is probably a hopeless act. When I take communion, I take communion and say “Amen” with a heavy heart, taking it in honor of my friend, and asking my Lord to use the pain I feel for His good, because I trust that He will apply this sorrow where He knows it is  needed most.

Admittedly, I made a mistake and hurt my dearest friend. I trust, trust, trust that Jesus will honor the suffering I am enduring despite it being my own fault.

The first weeks of our non-friendship were by far the hardest for me. Waiting for the texts, the posts on my Facebook page that would make me laugh out loud, and my presumption in thinking that I would be missed and eagerly forgiven. It is pretty certain that my dearest  friend took a page from my own book and has made me ”dead” as we are known to do in Italian.

Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

My son met a girl. And not just any girl. He met someone who not only shares everything that he is but also has the same first name. On the fourteenth of February, the two of them, with very serious faces, sat us down — I focusing on the sweet diamond ring she was wearing, and my husband on his blue tooth car phone device.

My son looked at me and said, “Mom, I am getting married.” He looked at his father, and his father continued to be focused on his bluetooth device.

My son looked back at me and said, “Mom, I feel like I am in a movie or something,” and we started to laugh. His now “fiancé”  attempted to engage my husband by speaking of what she was studying in school. But it was clear that my husband had not heard that his son was getting married. At that juncture my husband looked up tired and said ”I am going to bed.”

At that point my son, his fiancé and myself were in stitches trying to keep from laughing so hard that we would wake everyone else up. We played cards for a bit. Then I went to bed.

After I washed my face, my husband asked me what we were talking about,” because it seemed intense.”  So I said,”Your son  told us he was getting married.”

The light went on, he jumped put of bed, and ran to him and I heard him laugh and congratulate our son.

Since our son was a child, he was the loudest, funniest, cutest, most rambunctious and daring of all eight of our children. His high school years have been a cross between living in Pee Wee’s play house and Nazi Concentration Camp and never knowing which character I would wake up to. He has mellowed as he has grown up, but he is still, to say the least, intense.

Mothers never stop worrying or caring, but they do place things that they cannot repair on the back burner with a few occasional prayers,in order to be able to function normally. In other words, mothers recognize the things you simply must leave in Gods hands, wild haired sons are one of those things.

At that point I remembered my friend again. This was something that she would want to know. But I knew that I couldn’t tell her. And I felt that terrible sorrow emerge again. And then I began to cry. This time it was gratefulness to God, that it was his plan that allowed me grieve all of these friend-starved months so that He could apply it to the deepest longing of my heart — the happiness of my children.


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