(from an essay by Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
The Savior is not alone on the way of the cross. Not only are there adversaries around Him who oppress Him, but also people who succor Him. The archetype of followers of the cross for all time is the Mother of God….
Voluntary expiatory suffering is what truly and really unites one to the Lord intimately. When it arises, it comes from an already existing relationship with Christ. For, by nature, a person flees from suffering. And the mania for suffering caused by a perverse lust for pain differs completely from the desire to suffer in expiation. Such lust is not a spiritual striving, but a sensory longing no better than other sensory desires, in fact worse, because it is contrary to nature. Only someone whose spiritual eyes have been opened to the supernatural correlations of worldly events can desire suffering in expiation, and this is only possible for people in whom the spirit of Christ dwells, who as members are given life by the Head, receive His power, His meaning, and His direction. Conversely, works of expiation bind one closer to Christ, as every community that works together on one task becomes more and more closely knit and as the limbs of a body, working together organically, continually become more strongly one.
But because being one with Christ is our sanctity, and progressively becoming one with Him our happiness on earth, the love of the cross in no way contradicts being a joyful child of God. Helping Christ carry His cross fills one with a strong and pure joy, and those who may and can do so, the builders of God’s kingdom, are the most authentic children of God. And so those who have a predilection for the way of the cross by no means deny that Good Friday is past and that the work of salvation has been accomplished. Only those who are saved, only children of grace, can in fact be bearers of Christ’s cross. Only in union with the divine Head does human suffering take on expiatory power. To suffer and to be happy although suffering, to have one’s feet on the earth, to walk on the dirty and rough paths of this earth and yet to be enthroned with Christ at the Father’s right hand, to laugh and cry with the children of this world and ceaselessly sing the praises of God with the choirs of angels—this is the life of the Christian until the morning of eternity breaks forth.
Dear Crucified Jesus, I wish You so well and I love You so much. I want to be on Calvary with You, and I suffer with joy because I know how to be on Calvary. Dear Jesus, I thank You for sending me this illness, because it is a means to arrive in Paradise. Dear Jesus, tell God the Father that I also love Him so much. Dear Jesus, I want to be Your lamp and Your lily, dear Jesus… Dear Jesus, give me the strength necessary to endure the pains that I offer for sinners. Dear Jesus, tell the Holy Spirit to illuminate me with love and to fill me with His Seven Gifts. Dear Jesus, tell the Madonnina that I love her so much, and that I want to be together with her on Calvary because I want to be Your victim of love, dear Jesus.Venerable Antonietta Meo, age 6, on May 2, 1937