Carrying Our “Cross” In Peace

 

Another step to grow in my faith was to learn the skills and strategies that help to live a “Properly ordered life” – regaining control of my life with the virtue (habit) of prudence. I went to a chiropractor who successfully eliminated pain in my arm by ‘Adjusting” (straightening) my spine. REALLY. It worked!

In like manner, I went to Confession and got an “Adjustment” that balanced my outlook and understanding and this helped to resolve an emotional pain. My “Penance” from the priest was to read about the Passion of Christ in the Bible and reflect on Jesus Christ’s unfair suffering. (Gospel According to Saint Matthew Chapter 27) It did not take long for me to stop feeling sorry for MY petty suffering. In addition, I have followed this line of thinking to gain a more “Properly ordered life”, through prayer since this experience.    Here is another example:

In this post I try to explain how PRAYER has brought me better understanding of the need to pick up my Cross and follow the example of Jesus. God does not require me to be successful. He expects me to do my best to glorify Him by honestly TRYING to do His work on earth.

This is raw emotion more than literature….. I’m doing my best.

Recently, I tried to do a righteous deed, but with my limited knowledge and limited foresight I feel that I failed. In The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius he writes his 14 rules of Discernment. The second part of Rule 1 Reads: “ … the good spirit uses a contrary method, stinging and biting their consciences through their rational power of moral judgment. Well, I’m sure this works for “Good Spirits” but my attempt did nothing but make matters worse. I pray that the Holy Spirit will protect, strengthen, and Bless my lost “Effort” to ultimately accomplish God’s Will. Prayer brings us Faith and Peace.

It is sad for us when a friend loses his life. We will miss that friend but be comforted, in time, with the happy memories. It is more sad when a friend loses his mind, like in Alzheimer’s Disease, or severe Mental Depression. For in this, the sadness continues for a long time while we watch helplessly in any effort to relieve the suffering. It is most tragic when a friend risks losing his SOUL for there will be no consolation of knowing the joy and happiness of eternity in heaven. All we can do is hope and pray for God’s Mercy and Intervention.

So, here I am with deep regret that I failed to guide a friend confused by overwhelming emotions. In my failure to help and in my resulting depression and accompanying “Panic Attacks” I envision all the bad that might come from my failure. Yes, I forgot that God works on His timetable. Desperately I prayed the rosary for help and this was a day for the Sorrowful Mysteries. (God begins to guide and comfort me.) The first Sorrowful Mystery : “The Agony in the Garden”. Here we are reminded that Christ sees all the “Mistakes” of all his people of all times – past, present and future. My suffering is just over my mistake and the possible harmful mistaken choice of my friend. Then, during this first decade of the Rosary I regained some strength by realizing Christ’s suffering was so much greater than mine. I was foolish, weak, and unfocused for being frozen over so much less pain than Christ endured. I prayed more to be stronger.

The second Sorrowful Mystery: “The Scourging at the Pillar”. People that I love and respect got angry and critical of my trying to help this depressed person in need. I was told to give up… that person was not worth the effort, concern or love. I felt like I was being attacked. Unfairly attacked.  How could I compare the criticisms directed at me when Christ, a total innocent, suffered attacks of violence, mental cruelty, and hate. My cross was nothing compared to Christ’s Scourging. I had not right to complain and feeling sorry for myself was foolish. Yes, I know my emotions are still raw, but my intellect now reminds me that God is with me. I pray for guidance and I pray for my still suffering friend.

I failed to help my friend in need. I was criticized for trying, and mocked for not knowing my place. As a final humiliation, my friend -still suffering depression and panic attacks- exterminated me from our friendship. This really hurt. However when I get to the third decade of my rosary I am reminded how Christ was humiliated with a crown of thorns. Obviously, Christ understands my pain and helps me with the comfort of this understanding. Prayer does help.

By the forth decade (Christ Carries the Cross) I am still feeling the depression from failure, criticism, and loss of a most valued friendship. Yes, I tried to do a righteous act, but in what looks like complete failure I am alone with nothing to show for my efforts other than the knowledge that I tried my best. When Christ carried His Cross, it looked like failure. So I am comforted knowing that my friend may someday benefit from my efforts and prayers. I pray that the “evil one” will never again take advantage of my friend’s depression and panic attacks.

In the fifth decade, Christ dies on the Cross. During this decade, knowing I am “Dead” to my friend, I pray that the Holy Spirit will watch over my friend in my absence. I pray for a miracle.

OK, so this is a sad chapter in my life complicated by the fact that I can easily empathize with the pain of depression suffered by my friend. I have suffered depression – severe depression- several times in my life. I am learning that I cannot let my experiences in life set me into a panic when I see a person living the same nightmare….. even a good and loved friend. A lesson learned the hard way is to try PRAYER first. For now I pray for my friend daily and wait for God to “tell” me what to do and when to do it.

 

 

Author: Robert Denoncour

God granted four loving children and sixteen grandchildren. That is a lot of gifts for which I am most grateful.

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