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St. John Paul II showed us how to carry our crosses, Bishop Burbidge says

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“All of us here today, I am sure, are carrying some cross, especially as we persevere through a pandemic,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on Good Friday, at the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington April 2.

“It may be our physical and/or emotional suffering, serious family or personal issues, the mourning of a loved one or some betrayal or setback. No matter what that cross may be, it is not stronger than the love of the Lord, the One who suffered and died for us; who was not defeated, but proved victorious.”

Bishop Burbidge said, “As you reverence the cross today, tell the Lord the specific and timely help you need at this very moment in your life.” 

He noted the anniversary of the death of St. John Paul II. “I had the privilege of seeing him at two stages in his life. The first occurred a few months after he was elected as Pope and visited the seminary I was attending. I will never forget the joy, serenity and confidence on his face. I remember asking myself, how can he be so at ease upon being entrusted with care for the universal church? We know how: because of his trust in the love and mercy of God and his promise to be with us always. 

“The other occasion I saw St. John Paul II occurred in Rome months before his death. This time he was not the vigorous Pope I first encountered. He was frail. His hands were shaking. He was barely able to speak. But I still saw joy, serenity and confidence on his face, and we know why: because he never stopped believing in God’s abiding closeness to us and the grace he bestows. St. John Paul II taught at every moment of his life how to unite ourselves more closely to Christ and how to carry our cross.” 

Bishop Burbidge continued, “St. John Paul II often reminded us that no suffering is ever in vain, and with God’s grace, is always redemptive. He said: “Your sufferings embraced with unshakeable faith and, joined to those of Christ, take on an extraordinary value for the life of the Church and the good of humanity.” So dear friends, offer your sufferings for a specific need: maybe for the Church and her healing; maybe for peace in our world; maybe for a loved one or friend whose cross is much heavier than yours. The Lord will receive your offering and hear your prayer. 

“When you reverence the cross, unite your sufferings to the Lord’s; and offer them for the life of the Church and the good of humanity, you demonstrate why we say : “We adore you O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”   

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021