October 09, 2007

Embracing the Cross--Praying for Hope

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary is: Christ Carries His Cross.

I have an old prayer book that has some brief meditations written for each Mystery. For the Fourth Sorrowful Mystery it recommends that you ask to "Carry your daily crosses without complaint".

The phrase: "Carry your daily crosses without complaint" really resonates with me. It always has. As you probably guess, I struggle with the complaint part. I complain a lot. Not always externally, but, inside I'm usually grumbling.

Some days the little aggravations can really add up. Other days, the aggravations are not minor. In any case, I usually end up wishing Simon the Cyrene would come by, not only to help, but to just take the whole Cross away somewhere else.

Me, me, me. Incredibly selfish attitude, but there it is.

So, last week, there I am again at Confession and I told Father that I've really been struggling with despair. When things don't go my way, in spite of doing everything I can and constant prayer, I despair. Gee, can things get much worse? What have I done? I feel like I'm blaming God because He's not giving me what I want. For this attitude I deserve to be covered in boils but I can't help myself.

Father told me: "I need to pray for Hope". It seems like such a simple, almost ridiculously simple, solution. It hit me like a thunderbolt. Why didn't I think of that? Really, I hadn't thought of it. Even though I pray for an increase in the virtues of: Faith, Hope and Charity when I pray my Rosary I must be sleepwalking thru it.

This past week, I've really been working on praying for Hope. No, I'm still not getting everything I want. But, I am not being wracked with paralyzing despair either. I'm experiencing more acceptance and the peace that comes with that acceptance. I don't think that to Hope, means "I hope I will get what I want". Rather, I think the real hope is continuing to move forward in the Faith and praying that one day I'll see my God face-to-face.

Right after Confession, I knelt in prayer underneath the eyes of the Blessed Mother. I prayed really hard for an increase in Hope. I immediately felt a lightness of heart that I've got to call: Hope.

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at last He will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then from my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.--Job 19:25-27


Blogger swissmiss said...

I hope things continue to improve. Despair is a hard one, sorry to hear about the difficulties you have been having. I have always relied on the Divine Mercy Chaplet...maybe this prayer will help you, too.

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion --- inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

October 09, 2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

swissmiss: Things are getting better. I'm a fan of the Divine Mercy devotion already. I prayed the Chaplet this evening at Adoration.

October 09, 2007 7:19 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Don't you think you are simply experiencing temptations to despair? And our hope is tested,like gold in the fire. You did the right thing - you turned to Our Lady, known as the mother of holy hope. I often experience the same thing and turning to Our Lady, I find the same consolation as you did. Call her "My Mother, my Confidence" - she grants many graces under this title.

If our prayers are not always answered right away, or as we'd hoped, God in His Providence is preparing something better, even greater. Confidence and love - I know you have that... the rest are more probably temptations - I hope Father helped you with that. When we understand things as temptations, there is a sort of peace of soul because we know we are on the right track and the devil is trying to destroy our hope. Does that make sense?

Just my thoughts. My prayers are with you.

October 09, 2007 7:23 PM  
Blogger Brendan Koop said...

Just FYI, don't know if you heard, but it just came out that the Pope's next encyclical (which he just finished) is on Hope. If you go to American Papist he has some articles about it in recent blog entries. God bless!

October 09, 2007 8:27 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Terry: Good point. It could be the Bad Guy in action.

Brendan: I had not heard. I've not read the Papist in a while. If I was caught up on my blog reading, maybe I would have! Thanks!

October 10, 2007 4:20 AM  

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