Carry the Cross, Not You


Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it.   ~  St. Philip Neri

          Just as dusk was falling today, I sensed a familiar but unwelcome shrivelling up within me. It didn’t come on the heels of frustration or tiredness or boredom. It wasn’t due to overwork or a lack of sleep. It came after days of beautiful blue skies and fat, white cloud boats. After a sudden orange~black darkening of evening farewells, running thrills through me. After the skies tipped over the blessings they had hidden in their bosoms all day, washing the earth clean and fresh.

          After so many happy, daisy~days, comes this old path, its emergence as always, unheralded, as always, unwelcome. Bitterly dry, with nary a water drop to wet even a morsel of the unyielding earth.

          It comes in the later hours of a Sunday lived in a new way today, for upon my morning rising, I had tasked my angel,

Take my soul to every Tabernacle where it is needed.

Place my soul before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus.


So that on a Sunday where the sacrifice of the Mass is yet again denied us, He is not left alone.

          And then, I had skipped to my waiting day. Flowers on the altar, marigolds and zinnias after ever so long. Mass on tv. A happy lunch. A little work. Good rest.

          A day so right, lived seemingly right too. And yet, here it was, that old of olds, an inner state that felt like the dull brown-red of the streets of purgatory I’d seen almost 2 years ago in a dream.

Drynesses of spirit and devotion

          Oh, any cross but this, my heart gets ready to grumble.

          But again, St. Philip Neri beats me to it.

As a rule, people who aim at a spiritual life begin with the sweet and afterward pass on to the bitter. So now, away with all tepidity, off with that mask of yours, carry your cross, don’t leave it to carry you.

          Despite it all, I have to chuckle. Carry your cross. Don’t leave it to carry you.

          Oh, the wisdom of God!






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