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Today is the feast of the Holy Cross and this is a feast day that has been on my mind for months now. I wasn’t even aware of this feast day a few years ago, but since I picked up my own cross, it’s brought me ever closer to Jesus on the Cross.

It has been painful, but it has also been powerful.

There has been sorrow, but there has also been strength.

St. Josemaria Escriva had a great devotion to the Holy Cross.

He said, “We love – we should love – the Cross sincerely, because where the Cross is, there is Christ with his Love, his presence that fills everything…”

That said, when my cross felt its heaviest, I can’t tell you that I loved it.

It’s easier to talk about it, and write about it, and even to look back on it fondly now that it’s lighter. It always seems to be that way, doesn’t it? That when we’re in the thick of it, the muddy waters are just too muddy, and our hearts are just too heavy, and the cross feels just too unbearable.

But somehow, once we get through those trenches — because of Jesus, of course, we somehow are able to look back at it with softer eyes, kinder eyes. Kinder on ourselves, kinder on others, and even kinder on God. And it doesn’t look *all* that awful; not as awful as it felt at the time.

Maybe that’s because we’ve seen the growth, the change, the light — and His presence, close to our hearts, all along.

But I want to be able to offer some of that hope to people who are still in the trenches.

I’m there this morning and I’m walking on this path with you, and so is our Lord.

St. Josemaria Escriva wrote that when our faith weakens, people tend to imagine that God is far away and that He hardly cares for His children. (Guilty).

My faith certainly seems to waiver the longer I carry specific crosses of mine.

But St. Josemaria Escriva says, “We should make no mistake… God is no shadowy or distant being who created us and then abandoned us; nor is he a master who goes away and does not return. Though we do not perceive him with our senses, his existence is far more true than any of the realities which we touch and see. God is here with us, really present, living. He sees and hears us, he guides us, and knows our smallest deeds, our most hidden intentions.”

It helps me to remember that every time the waters cleared, I saw Him. I saw a little more of His purpose and will in my life.

Every time I took one step out of the trenches, and another, and another, I saw more of His love. Love that allows us to endure — that teaches us to endure, and loves that transforms

Hang in there today, friends, whether you’re in the trenches or whether you’re just moving on from those muddy waters. We all have a cross to carry but we’re not carrying it alone.