Jenny the Jeep made it up the mountain, even though… even though… the path up was still a bit muddy after the 8 1/2 inches of rain the other day. How is that possible, you ask? Isn’t the path up Mount Carmel, that is, Holy Souls Mountain, already way too steep even when it’s dry and conditions are perfect for climbing? Well, yes, that’s true, unless…
The trick is to balance the wood, spreading out the burden, indeed, even coming up with extraordinary ways to do this:
In this way, with a good couple hundred pounds out front, not to mention — well, I don’t even want to think how much the total weight of this wet red oak came to in the rest of Jenny — she went right up the mountain, accompanied by some rather fervent prayers to guardian angels. Another two trips like coming up. Yikes!
The Lord Jesus, Mary’s Son, carried the cross for us, redeemed us, and, please God, provides us sanctifying grace, saving us, having us hope in the grace of final perseverance, of a happy death. Yes, that’s true. However! As Saint Paul says, we are to make up what is lacking to the sufferings of Christ.
What could be lacking? He’s God! Of course, we can’t make that redemption any more perfect than it was and is. However, upon reception of such friendship with our Lord, we become so one with Him that when He goes into battle with Satan, so do we. When He lays down His life for us, being crushed by Satan even as He crushes Satan, He lays down our lives with His own as well. For we are but one with Him, His Mystical Body of which He is the Head.
How very many times He told His apostles that He must suffer and die, and then rise on the third day. How very many times He told all his disciples that we are to take up the cross and carry it, looking not at the cross, but to Him, following Him. He doesn’t want to carry the cross alone. He wants our company so that we go up Mount Calvary together. He spreads out the weight of the wood, the wood of the cross. And up we go, right up Mount Carmel.
When we see horrific, diabolical injustice, we must ask our Lord for the grace to see that Satan easily manipulates those who are not perfectly saints, that we are not fighting them, but rather Satan, and that, indeed, we are not fighting Satan, but our Lord is, and He would have us with Him in this battle.
In the battle, the wood, the torture, physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, is to be carried up the mountain, but it takes spreading out the burden.
Padre Pio carried the weight of diabolical injustice wrecked on innocent priests, innocent himself. Jesus also carried this cross of being slandered.
There are many, ridiculously, betraying fear, who immediately say that our Lord, unlike Padre Pio and so many others, was not accused of sexual misconduct, as if suffering such a slander, as if undergoing such an injustice for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens, would not be proper for our Lord. What idiocy.
Instead… instead… our Lord carried all the injustice, all the weight of the wood of the cross that we carry, as if it were an injustice that happened to Him: “What you have done to the least of these, you have done to Me.”
Padre Pio carried the wood of the cross, and was nailed to the cross, helping to bear the burden that all of us should be carrying.
We receive from Christ and those who are with Him, like Padre Pio. However, we can’t just receive (for then, we don’t really receive anything), but we must shoulder the weight of the wood as well. We don’t have the strength, but Christ does, and we are to look to Him, not to ourselves.
It’s interesting that of stigmata of Padre Pio included the shoulder wound of Christ carrying the cross. Padre Pio said that this was a most painful wound, the shouldering of the weight of the wood. But we can shoulder this wood of the cross as well, looking to Jesus. And up we go, right up the mountain.