Mt 10: 26-33
In today’s Gospel Jesus says:
“Anyone who does not take up his Cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me.”
In 1917 Our Lady appeared in Fatima, Portugal to three children Lucia aged 11, Francisco aged 9 and Jacinta aged 7.
On July 13th Our Mother showed the children a vision of hell, then she said:
“Make sacrifices for sinners and say often ‘Oh my Jesus I make this sacrifice for love of You, for the conversion of sinners and for reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’”
The children made many sacrifices. For example, they would often give their lunch away to poorer children. They would eat wild acorns or olives from the trees. This food was bitter. Jacinta made the remark: “because it’s bitter I’m eating it, for the conversion of sinners.”
They had stones in their shoes. They sometimes went without water – on one occasion for about a month.
Closer to home Bishop Griver, Bishop of Perth, who died in 1886 nailed two crucifixes, one to his chest, the other to his back. They were discovered after his death and he wore them for many years because the skin had grown partly over them.
Sr Josefa Menendez who died in 1933: At times Jesus would have her experience the crown of thorns and the full weight of the cross on her shoulder, sometimes continually for months as a time. Yet, despite her pain she always desired to suffer more. (On June 30th, 1921 she said: “I would die if He did not uphold me.”)
She also said: “I would suffer a thousand martyrdoms for the salvation of sinners.”
On December 22nd, 1920 Jesus said to her: “Be on the lookout today for what costs and mortifies you most and make as many acts of love as you can. How different a soul would be if they knew this secret…how dead to self they would become.”
The children of Fatima definitely lived that. They made as many sacrifices as they could.
On June 15th, 1923 Jesus said to Sr Josefa: “Nothing done in love is small. There are no small things in My sight, for the very force of love makes them great.”
Today a morning prayer group played loud music in the hall. A neighbour came to complain. This neighbour can be verbally aggressive. On one occasion he removed the power cord from the socket on the wall. When I saw him fear gripped me. It was an unusually large amount of fear. I cried out to Jesus, “I know you will look after this situation.” But the fear remained. I then said to Jesus: “I willingly accept the fear for love of You and the conversion of sinners and reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Mary. I then had enough courage and Grace to face him. When he saw me in that state he completely calmed down. Every morning we should make a commitment to make as many acts of love as we can to make a difference to the world as much as we can.
St John Vianney, who died in 1859 was know for his sufferings/penances. Satan revealed to him that his penances had saved 80,000 souls in one year alone, and that if there were just three people like him in the world his (satan’s) kingdom would be destroyed.
The Cross can change the world.
Every day we experience the Cross. It might be physical pain, anxiety, sorrow, etc. When we experience the Cross we naturally focus or think of ourself. As a result, we will “go down.”
However, the Cross is not the greatest negative, but the greatest positive. When we have a Cross, we have the greatest way to make a difference to the world – no greater way to gain merit or Grace for someone.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, I accept my Cross for love of you, for the conversion of sinners and for reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
I now give You Lord, as much praise as I can because you have changed my cross into merit, making a difference to one or more people’s life.