A soul that has completely forgotten self performs all her actions with simplicity, guided by a single good intention, without any egotistic reflections upon self. God always pleases her, whatever He does or permits. Sickness or health, prosperity or adversity, success or failure, life or death, all are indifferent to her. She welcomes suffering under whatever form it presents itself. Suffering is always the ambassador of Christ.
The man who has not a lively faith does not always discover Jesus under the different veils with which He conceals Himself. During His earthly life, only a small number of faithful souls recognized Jesus as the true Messias. After His death and His Resurrection, He, by the different appearances He assumed, took unawares the Apostles and even the ardent Magdalen herself.
Now that He is living in our Tabernacles, hidden under humble species, His visit is still more mysterious. It is only the soul that possesses love’s keen sight that recognizes the Master when He presents Himself. She knows Him by the cross He brings.
Ah, that dear Cross, which has saved the world! He will not be separated from it, and He desires to share it with His friends.
Dear soul, when suffering touches thee, say, “Jesus is passing,” and hasten to Him. Do not let Him bow down beneath the burden. Stretch out thine arms, lend thy shoulders and help Him carry it. He has come to thee for help. Be not astonished at the variety, the multiplicity of the crosses with which He favors thee. Contradictions, interior trials, heartaches, persecutions, failure, loss of fortune or of reputation, anxieties of conscience, corporal infirmities—all may be called crosses of Jesus. We must welcome them. “If anyone will come after Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me.” (Cf. Matt. 16:24)
Whither will He lead the soul? If she is faithful, He will lead her to Calvary; and she will be nailed to the Cross and will die upon it. And Jesus will say to her “Little grain of wheat, I have cast thee into the earth that thou mayest die there; but when thou hast died, life will come from thee; a new stem will grow out of thee; and in this thou shalt live a fruitful life.”
Oh, mystery of the Cross! We must die to live. Faith teaches me this; reason suggests it to me; all nature gives me its illustration. In order that I may be something, I must resign myself to be nothing, to forget self, to be cast into the earth, to die.
I wish to be this little grain of wheat, hidden in the bowels of the earth. Jesus will keep me enclosed there, I know. My life will glide along, seemingly unprofitable. The talents with which God has endowed me will be consumed, not in the service of great and holy causes, but in what appears to be forced and endless inaction. This is the grave; this is death! But what matter? Jesus is watching over me. When it pleases Him, He will bring life and fruitfulness from my tomb; and my vocation on earth shall be fulfilled.
This article is taken from a chapter in The Gift of Oneself: Surrendering Oneself to God as a Way of Life by
Fr. Joseph Schryvers, CSSR, which is available from TAN Books.
Photo caption: A crucifix in Hochtannberg Pass by Böhringer Friedrich (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).