Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery

A story was told about a man who persistently prayed to God to ease him of the cross he has been carrying for years. One day, St. Peter appeared before him and said he is being summoned by God who has heard his prayers. The man went up the gates of heaven with St. Peter who later brought him to a roomful of crosses. There they were, in different colors, materials, sizes. Some were very simple and some were ornate. Some were as huge as the trees in a virgin forest and some were as small as the palm of one's hand. Then, St. Peter told the man that because God was a just and fair God, he can take a look and choose the cross which he thinks he can carry without much difficulty. The man went around the room. He paused when he saw one that caught his attention. It took a while before he chose one, got it and showed it to St. Peter. The gatekeeper asked him if he was sure it was what he wanted. After giving his assurance, St. Peter instructed him to look at what's written on the back of the cross. The man was astonished to find his name engraved thereat.

I always recall to mind this story whenever I have choices or decisions to make at this point in my life. I know it pleases my God to know that I have accepted my cross long ago, and though I sometimes feel burdened heavily, I always look forward to the promise of resurrection which would lead me to everlasting life.

I am no Bible-carrying nor Bible-quoting Christian. I just know that the story of the man who refused his cross and ended up with the same is repeated several times over in all parts of the world. Being an orphan at a very young age is a cross. Difficult mathematical equations are themselves a cross. A vicious husband, a nagging wife, a special child and sickly parents are each a cross. So are a parasitic friend, an unproductive sister and a gossipy neighbor. Even a low-paying job, a know-all-boss and an inefficient assistant are crosses one must have to bear. There are as many crosses as there are people on earth. Sometimes, a person feels s/he has a lot of burdens on his/her shoulders. It would take a lot of self-searching to discern which of the crosses we bear is the one for us. I believe this means that like the man in the story, we can bargain with God, but only on His terms.

I can't recall how many times I turned down someone in need because I know that it is a cross I shouldn't have to bear. (The times when I carried this cross far outnumbered the times I didn't.) Or the times when I refused to heed the messages sent by listen-to-me-I-know-it-will-be-good-for-you fellows, who only wanted to pass their crosses to me so subtly, they think I wouldn't know.

It is very clear to me what my cross is in my lifetime. Sure it's heavy. But I know it's mine. It manifests itself in different forms at different points in time, and when it does, it weakens and debilitates me. Good thing I am a half-full glass of milk-person. It helps a lot to carry that weight. Plus, I get a lot of help from the One who carried His cross to Calvary, and His mother, who did not leave His side.

Image lifted from yakub_israel