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Seeking the Cross

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Some people try to talk God out of sending them crosses. Some go looking for them.

For all you cross-hunters, St. Helen's the saint for you.

St. Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, went looking for the true cross in the Holy Land. According to pious tradition, she found three buried in the place where the locals believed the true cross resided. An ill woman touched the crosses in turn. The cross she touched just before being healed was taken to be the true cross.

But why do we go looking for crosses? Why aren't the ones God sends enough for us?

Sometimes, we go looking for more crosses out of love. Saint Faustina Kowalska, for instance, pursued penance frequently, and was sometimes forbidden by her superiors or her confessors from performing as much as she wanted (see Diary, 618, 364-365). Why? Because she wanted to suffer out of love for Jesus and for souls. This is the heart of consoling spirituality: if you love someone, you want to share their sorrows and alleviate them if you can. If we love Jesus, then we shall try to accompany Him through His Passion and relieve the suffering of His Heart, caused by those who reject or neglect His merciful love.

And sometimes, when people reject or neglect His merciful love, they add crosses to their burdens that God never intended for them to have to bear. Sometimes when we sin, we bring down upon ourselves crushing burdens that are truly beyond our strength, and we either must cry out to God for additional aid, or be destroyed beneath the weight of our own disastrous fall. Sometimes the sins of others multiply the crosses of their family, friends, and neighbors beyond anything God meant for them to have to carry, and those around a sinful soul must then cry out to God for additional assistance, for the grace to be able to bear up under the unwanted weight of new crosses.

So on Aug. 18, the feast of St. Helen the cross hunter, let us ask her intercession that we may love Jesus enough to desire to console His Heart. Let us ask her to pray for all those who are burdened with loads that are beyond their strength, that they may turn to Jesus and receive every grace and strength that His generosity wishes to send to them.

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