Crosses are the great means which God employs to destroy self-love in us and to increase and purify his love within us.
While we, on our side, labor for these two ends by the means which he has placed at our disposal.
The crosses finish the work; without them it would be imperfect.
The reason of this is clear. Self cannot kill itself; the blow must be struck from elsewhere, and self must rest passive in receiving it.
As long as I act I live; I shall mortify myself in vain, I shall not succeed in dying spiritually by my own efforts.
God must do this for me. He must act within me, and the fire of his love must consume the victim.
There are so many different kinds of crosses that it is impossible to enumerate them all; and the same crosses are capable of infinite variety.
They change according to different characters, different circumstances, different degrees. Some are simply painful, some are humiliating, other unite humiliation to pain.
Some assail a man in his worldly possessions, in those who are dear to him, in his health, in his honor, even in his life.
Others assail him in his spiritual interests, in that which touches his conscience, in that which concerns his eternal salvation; and these are undoubtedly the most frequent, the most destructive, and the most difficult to bear ...
All have an effect upon us which inward mortification is unable to produce, and without them we cannot expect to attain to an eminent degree of holiness.
Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. "Taking Up Our Cross." excerpt from Meditations upon the love of God (London: J. T. Hayes., 1927).
Meditations upon the love of God is out of print and in the public domain. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in June 2013.
Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. (1731-1803) was a French Jesuit priest and mystic and a beloved spiritual master. He is the author, among other books, of Meditations Upon The Love Of God, How To Pray, The practical science of the Cross in the use of the sacraments of penance and the eucharist. and The Spiritual Maxims of Pere Grou.Copyright © Father Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J.
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