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How sweet is the yoke of the Christian!

From My Imitation of Christ (Confraternity of the Precious Blood):
The Interior Life, Chapter 2: Humble Submission Wrote:1. Be not much concerned who is for thee or against thee, but let it be thy business and thy care that God may be with thee in everything thou dost.--ROM. VIII. 31.

Have a good conscience, and God will sufficiently defend thee.

For he who God will help no man's malice can hurt.

If thou canst but hold thy peace and suffer, thou shalt see, without doubt, that the Lord will help thee.

He knows the time and the manner of delivering thee and therefore thou must resign thyself to Him.

It belongs to God to help and to deliver us from all confusion.

Oftentimes it is very profitable for keeping us in greater humility that others know and reprehend our faults.

2. When a man humbles himself for his defects he then easily appeases others, and quickly satisfies those that are angry with him.

The humble man God protects and delivers; the humble He loves and comforts; to the humble He inclines Himself; to the humble He gives grace--PROV. XXIX. 23, and after he has been depressed raises him in glory.

To the humble He reveals His secrets, and sweetly draws and invites him to Himself.

The humble man having received reproach maintains himself well enough in peace, because he is fixed on God, and not on the world.

Never think thou hast made any progress till thou lookest upon thyself as inferior to all.
Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus,
grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to
desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
(07-01-2011, 05:35 PM)Sempiternam Wrote: [ -> ]Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus,
grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to
desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

:)

Thank you!
I have read that so many times and I still don't understand it. I have known crosses but I have never found them sweet, but rather unbearable and full of bitterness. What does it mean to you, that "My cross is sweet"? Does it just mean that you will be glad of it after you're dead? That if you suffer in this life, you will be happy in the next? Or does it actually mean that there is a sweetness during the suffering? I have read the Imitation, Friends of the Cross, and many other books, but I still don't get it.
(07-02-2011, 12:40 AM)charlesh Wrote: [ -> ]I have read that so many times and I still don't understand it. I have known crosses but I have never found them sweet, but rather unbearable and full of bitterness. What does it mean to you, that "My cross is sweet"? Does it just mean that you will be glad of it after you're dead? That if you suffer in this life, you will be happy in the next? Or does it actually mean that there is a sweetness during the suffering? I have read the Imitation, Friends of the Cross, and many other books, but I still don't get it.

Good question.

It means that there is actual sweetness in bearing the cross.

We don't find these crosses sweet of themselves because they are inconvenient and opposed to our wills. But if we abandon our wills completely to God, then there is sweetness and consolation in doing His will, and our wills become as one.

True love is not a feeling; it is a commitment. We don't love because we feel an emotion; we love because we choose to love.

True love makes sacrifice easy; perfect love makes it joyful. These crosses are sacrifices that we use to prove our unconditional love for God, as He has done for us. We must first accept the crosses He has given us, trust in His wisdom in giving us such a burden, rejoice in His confidence in us that He has trusted us to carry such a heavy burden, and then embrace it as He did by using every opportunity for sacrifice as a way to commit to our decision to love God unconditionally.

This will be very unpleasant at first, but that is what makes it so pleasing to God: you aren't sacrificing because you get some warm feeling when you do it, or because it pleases you; you are sacrificing because it pleases Him and only Him in a way you can not experience or understand.

In return, He rewards us with spiritual consolations along the way, which are sweet indeed. Be we should never be solicitous or anxious for these consolations. We should rejoice when He gives them to us, but we should never make them the condition upon which we choose to serve God in all of our thoughts, words, and deeds throughout the day. The highest level of the spiritual life, the unitive way, is a complete purification of the soul whereby God withdraws all consolations from us (referred to by some as the "dark night of the soul")--even the consolation of the thought of Heaven--to test the spiritual purity of our love for Him. It was upon reaching this state that St. Therese de Lisieux remarked that not even the thought of heavenly delights could comfort her; all she wanted was love: to love Him and to be loved by Him. She wrote that she believed God took her at such a young age because she was no longer capable of suffering: every suffering was a joy.

And that is why the yoke of the Christian is sweet indeed. 

Pax tecum.
Great post INPEFESS.

A friend and I used to "argue" about this. She used to say that suffering was sweet and I would argue that no, suffering is suffering, so if it's sweet, it's not really suffering. This was shortly before she entered religious life. Needless to say she had reached a spiritual maturity 12 years ago that I have yet to achieve now. But every now and then I see a glimpse of it. As you say it is not so much a feeling of warm fuzzies, it is more the peace of soul of being completely united to the will of God and trusting that your suffering, united to that of Our Lord, gains graces that are greater than and well-worth the suffering.

A natural comparison might be someone running a marathon. If they focus on the pain they feel while training, they'll never make it to the end. But if they fix themselves on something greater, the goal, the reason they want ot run the marathon, they will dig deep and find strength to rise above the pain and actually find joy in it, the runner's high, the joy of accomplishing their goal etc...When you work out, you actually kind of like to feel the sweat and the burn and the pain the next day, because it proves you actually did something and are once step closer to your goals. In the spiritual life we can compare love of God and everything that flows from there as the goal upon which we fixate and the actual pain we endure through our trials drive us towards that goal. For that reason, they become sweet and even desired.   

(07-02-2011, 01:17 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: [ -> ]We don't find these crosses sweet of themselves because they are inconvenient and opposed to our wills. But if we abandon our wills completely to God, then there is sweetness and consolation in doing His will, and our wills become as one.

True love is not a feeling; it is a commitment. We don't love because we feel an emotion; we love because we choose to love.

This.
(07-02-2011, 10:01 AM)wallflower Wrote: [ -> ]Great post INPEFESS.

Thank you.  :)

Quote:A friend and I used to "argue" about this. She used to say that suffering was sweet and I would argue that no, suffering is suffering, so if it's sweet, it's not really suffering. This was shortly before she entered religious life. Needless to say she had reached a spiritual maturity 12 years ago that I have yet to achieve now. But every now and then I see a glimpse of it. As you say it is not so much a feeling of warm fuzzies, it is more the peace of soul of being completely united to the will of God and trusting that your suffering, united to that of Our Lord, gains graces that are greater than and well-worth the suffering.

Yes, I agree with this.

When we speak of suffering being sweet, we do not mean to say that the emotional, physical, or psychological discomfort of suffering disappears; we mean only to say that it is often accompanied by a deep peace in doing God's will and an ethereal love in knowing that God is pleased by our sacrifice. Oftentimes, the more the sufferings increase, and the more we humbly resign ourselves to this suffering, the more this ineffable peace is multiplied, whether it be at the moment of the suffering of much later.

Quote:A natural comparison might be someone running a marathon. If they focus on the pain they feel while training, they'll never make it to the end. But if they fix themselves on something greater, the goal, the reason they want ot run the marathon, they will dig deep and find strength to rise above the pain and actually find joy in it, the runner's high, the joy of accomplishing their goal etc...When you work out, you actually kind of like to feel the sweat and the burn and the pain the next day, because it proves you actually did something and are once step closer to your goals. In the spiritual life we can compare love of God and everything that flows from there as the goal upon which we fixate and the actual pain we endure through our trials drive us towards that goal. For that reason, they become sweet and even desired.   

This is a good analogy. The physical pain and exhaustion does not leave, but there is a reward and satisfaction in experiencing the good effect of that pain and exhaustion.

That is a good way to describe it using a natural comparison. Thank you, Wallflower.

"He that taketh not up his Cross and followeth me, is not worthy of me" Matthew 10:38

All of our 'real' crosses, it seems to me, are those that we Do Not choose ourselves.

So the comparison with the marathon runner, heroic as it may appeal to us, is false.  O.K. the Athlete has to sacrifice some aspects of their life, but this is no different to choosing between career options, and the fact is the aim of the competitor is not to be humbled but rather the opposite. To be glorified before rapturous applause.  What about less glamorous options like raising a house full of Catholic children? This is, or can be, a gruelling burden, and one unrecognised by the world.  But even there this is something that some of us would Choose to do.

Where there is choice, in our dis-graced condition, there is a foot in the doorway for Pride.

The true Crosses are those that God, in His Divine Wisdom, sends our way for us to grumble and gripe under, perhaps to be crushed under. Things that we would, naturally, run a million miles away from doing or experiencing.

Scripture tells us not to give in to the Temptation of Despair, but to rejoice in Tribulation - "Persevere under chastisement. God dealeth with you as with His sons" Heb 12:7

"The furnace trieth the Potter's vessels, and the Trial of Affliction just men" Ecclus. 27:6

"Many are the afflictions of the Just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them" Psalm 33:20

"Behold! The Devil will cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried" Apoc 2:10

"Whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth; and as a Father in the son He pleaseth himself" Prov 3:12

"Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee" Tob 12:13














And also -

""The Just man shall hold on his way, and He that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger" Job 17:9

"He that shall overcome, shall thus be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His Angels" Apoc 3:5

To endure unlooked-for trials, temptations, afflictions (possibly all together) is to undergo Purgation and a 'white martyrdom' ahead of the Church Suffering. The spiritual rewards even in this life are clearly shown in scripture and by the Saints.
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