Crosses and Crowns

No one can entirely escape adversities, trials, and sufferings in this earthly life. These, our daily crosses, cause us to be sad. But we can strive to be cheerful despite them, and even, on account of them.

Father Geiermann explains that “sadness is a depression of heart which tends to exaggerate our troubles, to paralyze our energies, and to make us rebel at the trials of life. It may be caused (1) by physical infirmity, (2) by nervous strain, (3) by a sulky mood of our wounded pride or self-love, (4) by the weight of the burdens of life, (5) by remorse of conscience, (6) by the circumsession of an evil spirit, (7) by an extraordinary visitation of Providence. Cheerfulness, on the other hand, is a buoyancy of spirit which inclines us to look on the bright side of things, fills us with enthusiasm, and enables us to bear the burdens of life with ease and pleasure. It may be caused (1) by the glow of health, (2) by the gratification of our pride or self-love, (3) by congenial occupation or surroundings, (4) by the peace of a good conscience, (5) by sensible fervor, (6) by the alluring influence of grace.” Geiermann recommends that we “cultivate cheerfulness by resigning ourselves unreservedly to the dispensations of Providence, and by seeking to please God alone in all things.” He offers these thoughts on bearing our daily crosses:

“The Cross embraces all the contradictions, trials, and sufferings of life.”

“The Cross is our earthly burden, which we can not lay aside.”

“The Cross intended for us by God is really light when borne in conformity with the divine will. Our imagination may magnify it, our self-love seek to escape it in spite of the fact that the Eternal Truth has said: ‘My yoke is sweet, and my burden light’ (Mt 11:30).”

“The Cross is an evidence of God’s love; the higher our place is to be in heaven, the greater must be our Cross on earth.” Thus we read: “Whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth” (Heb 12:6).

“The Cross is proportioned to our strength. For ‘God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able’ (1 Cor 10:13).”

“The Cross passes quickly, and, as the darkest cloud has always the brightest lining, so the heaviest Cross is the harbinger of the greatest blessing.”

“The Cross, when faithfully borne through life, evolves into the Crown of heaven.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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