Each Man Has a Cross to Bear...
El Greco's 'Christ Carrying the Cross'
I've just been speaking with a new friend who I have made through busking called, for the purpose of this blog, Nicholas. He's very lovely and warm-hearted. I asked him in for a pint at a local and it was nearly closing time so we chatted for half an hour. It cropped up in conversation that I altar serve at St Mary Magdalen's on Sunday and he was interested to know more about it and the Catholic Faith in general, having just talked about a book he had been reading about ways of changing your life with spirituality. We talk regularly about our addictions, given that we, like all people do have to some degree or another, struggle with our vices. He said he had only had his first nights sleep in 5 days the other day, talked of the hallucinations he had been having as a result and the noises and the horrendous thoughts.
He is currently battling with heroin addiction and has been going cold turkey for a week now. I really admire him and his sensitivity to the spiritual. He's not Catholic, describes himself as agnostic, but spoke at length about the weight of the Cross that our Blessed Lord must have had to bear, how that gives him encouragement and when he thinks about Christ, thinks about how someone has borne something much greater than the trials we struggle with. How right he is...yet, even though it is said so much, each man has a Cross to bear. I have mine, and he has his and yes, we fall from time to time. The true manliness of Jesus Christ is His willingness to undergo intense and excruciating suffering for love of God and Mankind. Not only did his Most Sorrowful Passion open wide the Gates of Heaven, but gave us the Model by which to live our lives.
Some people think you will never find God in a pub. My friends, very often, He is, albeit more often begging outside. He is very poor and busks for what he can to live and eat. He says he wants to come to Mass on Sunday, said he would try to come. He said that the example of Jesus gives him hope that you can carry on, that people can take everything away from you, but they can never take your spirit, no matter how many blows they strike you with and that the example of Jesus gives him that consolation in his trials. He is a very humble, spiritual and beautiful individual. If there is one thing a man needs if he is giving up heroin, or indeed anything, it is Christ. Pray for him, pray that he may know His love and know that in Jesus we have one who we can turn to who says, 'Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart'.