Comparing or Bearing the Cross

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Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:

My daughter, meditate frequently on the sufferings which I have undergone for your sake, and then nothing of what you suffer for Me will seem great to you. You please Me most when you meditate on My Sorrowful Passion. Join your little sufferings to My Sorrowful Passion, so that they may have infinite value before My Majesty (1512).

Many in our world today are weighed down by envy. Influenced by advertising and social media, we constantly compare ourselves to other people.

However, envy is nothing new. Even the psalmist compares himself to others when he says, "I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they suffer no pain; their bodies are healthy and sleek. They are free of the burdens of life," (73:3-4). Sometimes it just seems like everyone else is succeeding when we are failing.

But we need to avoid comparing ourselves to others. When we do, between money, health, friends, good looks, or successful relationships, others will always seem to have something that we don't. As a result, focusing too much on other people causes us to lose our peace and become bitter.

In St. Faustina's Diary passage above, we're reminded that we should compare ourselves to only one person: Jesus Christ. Not the risen Jesus, either. In the face of our trials, we ought to meditate on Jesus and His Passion. As the sinless Son of God, Christ deserved every good thing the world had to offer. Instead, He was stripped of everything and submitted to the Cross.

Jesus' Passion proves to us that suffering is not a sign of God's disfavor. Those whom He loves, He allows to bear the Cross. In fact, God often sends His most faithful believers the most difficult trials because He knows that we will rely on Him to get through - that we will unite our sufferings to His, persevere, and produce fruit.

Though Christ suffered immensely in His Passion, in the end, He rose to new life. Like Christ, we cannot receive the victory of the Calvary unless we first submit to the pain of the Cross. Even as we carry our burdens, however, God promises to provide everything we need. When we persevere in our faith amidst our trials, we may not have everything the world seems to have. Instead, we'll have something better: the friendship of God, who made us and wants to satisfy the desires of our hearts.

The Holy Spirit says to us: Do not compare yourself to others. Believe in My providence. If I have placed something in your heart that you have not yet received, trust in My timing. As you bear your own crosses, think about the scourging at the pillar, the crowning of thorns, the crucifixion, and I will lead you to peace.

My prayer: God, help me not to think so much about what I don't have. Help me to trust that You have given me everything I need in this moment and will provide more than enough for me in the future. Please give me the strength to carry my crosses. Help me to find inspiration when I think about Your Son and His Passion, death, and Resurrection, and help me to trust that You have me in the palm of Your hands.

View the next Discovering the Diary.


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