Friday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time
"Let him take up his cross, and follow me"
Christ does not ask you to carry the whole of his heavy cross during your life but only a small part of it, by accepting your suffering. You have nothing to fear. To the contrary, consider yourself happy to have been accounted worthy of taking your share in the sufferings of the Man-God. There is no question on the Lord's part of either abandonment or punishment; quite the opposite – it bears witness to his love, his great love for you. You must offer God thanks and accept to drink the chalice of Gethsemane.
Sometimes the Lord lets you feel the weight of the cross. This weight seems unbearable to you and yet you carry it because the Lord, who is full of love and mercy, holds out his hand to you and gives you the strength you need. Our Lord needs people who will suffer with him in the face of men's lack of piety. That is why he leads me along the painful paths you speak of in your letter. Yet may he be blessed for ever since his love puts sweetness into what is bitter; he changes the passing suffering of this life into merit for eternity.
Saint Pio of Pietralcina "Padre Pio" (1887-1968), Capuchin
FSP, 119; Ep 3,441; CE,21; Ep 3,413