The Value of Our Crosses
In the lives of us all there is a cross of some description, and Our Lord tells us in today’s Gospel that “If anyone wants to be a follower of Mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). And although not included in today’s readings, St Paul wrote, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His Body, that is, the Church” (Colossians 1:24). What does he mean?
When Our Lord was on the cross He suffered in the body He had taken from His Mother, Mary. But St Paul in Colossians is referring to the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church. In other words, although Our Lord is now glorified in Heaven and the sufferings of His physical body are ended, He continues to suffer today in the members of His Mystical Body. That’s us! Christ’s Passion is still going on in the world today. Just think of all the places where Christians are persecuted throughout the world. A priest once said to a sick woman in hospital, “Do you understand that Christ has asked for your human nature? That He is saying to you ‘I cannot suffer again in this human nature which I took from Mary, because it is now glorified. But there are sinners who have to be redeemed. The work of the cross has to go on. So will you give Me your human nature so that I can suffer in you?’” The woman replied that she had never thought of it like that before.
We can all help continue the redemptive work of Christ by bearing the trials of life patiently. So if you are suffering right now, Our Lord is using you to help others. God only knows we have to save the Church and the world from the grave crisis they are in. There are bishops and priests who need to be saved, politicians, all the lapsed, the atheists and all those who persecute Christ. By offering up our sufferings in union with His we can help achieve this. In August 1917 Our Lady of Fatima said, “Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.” This is the mission of the Church – to save souls. Never underestimate the value of your sufferings and trials.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC