In the footsteps of St. Charles of Mount Argus - One who lived "At the foot of the Cross".
Probably the most favoured picture of St. Charles shows him in old age, with head bend down, with eyes focused on a Crucifix in his hands. It sums up his life as one spent "At the Foot of the Cross" Here he found nourishment, healing, love and power to sustain him in life and in reaching out to others.
We too can follow St. Charles and experience in our own lives the Love of the Crucified Jesus and the Power of the Cross. We can become a disciple.
In life we all experience pain. The pain takes many forms - sickness, depression, rejection, death of another, failure, poverty, discrimination, loneliness, disability, and aging. The list seems endless so many are the 'suits of clothes' that pain and suffering wear.
Jesus tells us that pain and suffering for the Christian are always a birth, a birth into the joy of the Lord.
'But though you will be plunged into grief, your grief will be turned to joy. A woman in labour is in pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish in her joy that a child has been born into the world.' (John 16/20b-21)
The lovers of Christ Crucified bring their pain to the 'Foot of the Cross'. They meet the Crucified Christ in prayer, in the Eucharist and in the Sacraments. They seek the touch of Jesus Crucified.
At the 'Foot of the Cross' they cry out and wait. Jesus is the one who knew suffering. Disciples of St. Charles open their hearts, they know Jesus loves them. They can say; 'Jesus loves me just as I am'. They feel his strength as he carries the pain with them. Just as in birth no one can control the time of labour, so at the 'Foot of the Cross' Jesus controls the time of labour as he accomplishes the transformation he desires for each of us. The moment comes when our pain and grief are turned into joy.
The joy of resurrection that fills the disciple is so intoxicating that they want to share it with others. The disciple becomes an apostle. How? The model is Jesus on the road to Emmaus.
'What is it that you are debating as you walk?' They stood still, their faces full of sadness .... Are you the only person ... not to have heard the news .... about Jesus of Nazareth?' Jesus said .... 'Was not the Messiah bound to suffer in this way before entering upon his Glory? .... They said ...Stay with us .... Jesus took bread and said the blessing; he broke the bread and offered it to them. Then their eyes were opened .... were not our hearts on fire.' Luke 24/13-32
The disciples were troubled and in pain. Jesus invited them to share their pain with him. What is troubling you? As they shared their pain with him he shared his suffering and the glory and joy that he gained. He shared his experience of resurrection.
It did not end there. They reached the town and they invited him to stay. He 'broke the bread' with them. They recognised him in the Eucharist. At that moment their joy was complete - their hearts burned within them.
The disciple become apostle reaches out to 'the others' who are in pain. The disciple invites them to articulate their pain and empathise with them. The disciple share their own personal experience of pain. But more they share the experience of transformation, of birth, of joy, that results in bringing their pain to the 'Foot of the Cross'.
The disciple shares the experience of meeting the Crucified Christ in prayer and especially in the Eucharist. They share the love, strength and joy that flows from the Cross.
The story for the disciple does not end at this point. They return to the 'Foot of the Cross' in prayer and in the Eucharist. They bring with them 'the other' who is in pain to Christ Crucified. The constant dialogue and encounter with their own pain and that of others and with Christ Crucified deepens the resurrection in their own and others lives.
Go to the 'Foot of the Cross' today and begin the process of becoming a Disciple, a follower of Saint Charles.