Last night as I was watching television, I found myself wishing for the easy life and opulence that was reflected in the program I was watching. Because television symbolizes real life; doesn’t it? Perhaps real life in Fantasyland, but not in the world that you or I live in! But, yet, we escape into a television program and often finding ourselves wanting to have lives like those that we are watching. Even “reality” shows are ions away from real life.
Real life in this world is about jobs we dislike, children who don’t do their homework, houses that we are too tired to clean, and unfinished business, unfinished laundry and cars that need tune-ups and oil changes. We deal with less-than-perfect marriages, two-faced co-workers, traffic tickets, layoffs, high food prices, viruses, questionable mammogram results, ailing elderly parents, lumps in our gravy. Let’s face it. Real life is messy.
A couple of Sundays ago, when the homily was about purgatory, our priest told us that – we wouldn’t need to worry so much about winding up with a long stint in Purgatory – if we would only just learn to carry our crosses. After meditating on this for a while, I understood what the priest meant.
God allows us to endure difficult times on earth. (Remember, “In the world you shall have tribulation. . .”?) But there is more. The rest of that verse goes, “but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world.” If we can just carry our crosses for a little while, beautiful things can happen. We can offer up our travails, uniting them with Christ’s suffering. We know, as Catholics, that though we may not understand why a loved one was taken from us too soon, we know that their suffering and ours, united with Christ’s suffering can move great mountains in prayer. This means that every single cross that we carry, be it a bad marriage, a sick child or even just “too much month left over at the end of the money,” our difficulties have multiple purposes. We can carry our crosses, offer them up and bring about glorious results both here and in the hereafter.
“Lord Jesus Christ, I believe in You as my God and my Saviour. Make me more faithful to Your Gospel and commandments. By sharing in the Eucharist, may I come to live more fully in the life You have given me. Keep Your Love alive within my heart and soul so that I may become worthy of You. Teach me to value and be thankful for all of Your Gifts. Help us to strive for eternal life.”