Carrying Our CrossCARYLL HOUSELANDER
Christ intends no man ever to carry the cross alone.
There is nothing Christ asked for more urgently in his earthly life than sympathy, nothing he asks for more often and receives less often in those in whom his Passion is lived today in its deepest humiliations and derelictions.
There are too many "commonsense Christians," afraid to spend themselves on anyone from whom they do not get visible results. They are ready with hard work for reform, they pour out good advice, they are proud to be realists who repudiate everything that seems to them to be impractical, including the poetry of Christ, but they have no use for those baffling human creatures who won't — or can't — play the game by their rules.
These "realists" refuse to see that there are problems which cannot be solved, griefs which cannot be healed, conditions which cannot be cured. They are impatient with the suffering they cannot end; unable to accept its reality, they wash their hands of it, because they cannot, so they think, do anything about it.
But we cannot make an end of Christ's suffering, for as long as the world goes on, the Passion of Christ will go on in his members; and he will ask, not for his suffering to be mitigated, but for sympathy. In Gethsemane Christ tried to awaken his Apostles, not because they could take away his agony, but because they could give him their compassion.
Caryll Houselander. "Christian Marriage." excerpt from The Risen Christ (New Rochelle, NY: Scepter Publishers, 2007).
Reproduced by kind permission of Scepter Publishers. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.
Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a British Roman Catholic laywoman; a mystic, writer, artist, visionary and healer. Born in London in 1901, Caryll was the second of two daughters born to Willmott and Gertrude (nee Provis) Houselander. Her first book, This War is the Passion, written during World War II, launched her prolific writing career. Houselander's talents included painting and many woodcarvings. Caryll's "divinely eccentric" life was principally a devotion to contemplating Christ in all and men and women and in all life circumstances. Maisie Ward (a friend of Caryll and author of her principal biography, Caryll Houselander; That Divine Eccentric) states, "Her message can be summed in a single sentence; we must learn to see Christ in everyone." Msgr. Ronald Knox was quoted as saying about Caryll's writing style, " . . . she seemed to see everything for the first time and the driest of doctrinal considerations shone out like a restored picture when she finished it." Caryll Houselander has been described as being a mystic in the tradition of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Avila. She is best known for her works: A Rocking Horse Catholic, The Reed of God, The Way of the Cross, This War is the Passion, The Risen Christ, The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, and her book of poetry The Flowering Tree.
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