As I wrote recently, I would like to build a church for the venerables. And as I said, I would dedicate it to Maria Vittoria Angelini, who believed long ago that the cross was the most important word in the Bible.
She is quoted as saying: “One ounce of the cross is worth more than a million pounds of prayer. That one day of crucifixion is worth more than a hundred years of all other exercises. And it is worth more to remain one moment upon the cross, than to taste the delights of paradise.”
Even Rose Philippine Duchesne, who was born in Grenoble, France, believed in the cross. She eventually came to America, at age 49, to found a school for girls and the first Catholic school for Native Americans in Florissant, Mo.
She, too, is quoted as saying: “Never forget that the road to heaven is the way of the cross. Jesus has called us to follow him, bearing the cross as he did.”
People idolize St. Therese of the Child of Jesus as she is quoted as saying: “I am certain of this: that if my conscience was burdened with all the sins it’s possible to commit, I would still go and throw myself into our Lord’s arms, my heart all broken up with contrition. I know what tenderness he has for any prodigal son who comes back to him.”
As Catholics, we believe in the communion of saints, so we then listen to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who said: “The worst thing in the world is not sin, it is denying that we are sinners. Sinners who deny there is sin, deny thereby the remedy of sin, and thus cut themselves off forever from him who came to redeem.”
To acknowledge the cross, we must acknowledge our sins. It is easier to follow Jesus in prayer than to acknowledge the cross we should carry because of the sins we have committed.
In America today, we have Christ without the cross, because though we sin, we deny we are sinners. Sadly, very few Catholics go to confession today. Not like St. Therese, who would go to confession, like she is quoted as saying above.
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus was burdened by what he did before the crucifixion, and he would have been forgiven by Jesus had he asked for forgiveness, like the prodigal son did to his father when he said: “Father, I have sinned against God and you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.”
This is what Judas should have done, and we should do, too, to lessen our cross when we go to confession. However, very few go to confession to rid themselves of their sins and their cross.