“I was not only willing to take up my cross but kissed it too.” -St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
When I first read these words I thought, why would anyone want to kiss their cross? We kiss a juicy fresh smelling apple before we eat it. We blow kisses to the sky. We kiss a loved one we are happy to see after a long day. The only day I ever remember kissing a cross was on Good Friday, and that was more in terms of reverence not a blatant welcome of a cross into my life.
Some crosses stay with you many years. One of St. Elizabeth’s trials was tuberculosis. It was the long, drawn out illness that eventually killed her. Perhaps she was good at dealing with it because she had suffered the loss of husband and two children, financial ruin, estrangement by family, rejection by peers, and mood swings with a deep insecurity before it entered her life.
Maybe I’m wrong but I can think of only two ways to deal with crosses. The first is to resent and fight against them. The second is to come to a peaceful resignation. Mind you I’m not talking about the peaceful resignation of laying down and saying, okay God do whatever you want to me. I’m talking about the kind of resignation that leaves you free to deal with the cross at hand. Fighting against is often self-defeating.
As you get older you likely can look back and see several crosses that have come and gone, and some that have stayed a constant companion. Have you grown from them? Have you become more compassionate and understanding because of them? Or have you stayed in bitterness for having had to endure them. I confess that for one particular cross I found myself in that last category for several years. Very self-defeating from a human and spiritual perspective. My advice: work through that grief and come to peace as soon as you can. It is only then that you can recognize the blessings born from it.
Nothing will bring us closer to God than the cross, but only if we open ourselves to it. God heals in many ways and often in ways we don’t expect. You may not yet be able to welcome and kiss a cross when it comes but perhaps you can tolerate one better knowing God can bring good out of anything. Trust Him.
Quote from: 15 days of Prayer with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton by Betty Ann McNeil, D.C. Liguori Publications. Copyright 2002 by Betty Ann McNeil, pg. 67.
Cross is in my bedroom