Grou on the carrying of the cross

In his Manual for Interior Souls, Grou has a chapter called "The Way of the Cross". He uncompromisingly sets out how bearing our cross daily is essential for a life of true devotion to Christ. He goes through five ways in which we are called to carry the cross:
  • Avoiding sin and all occasions of sin.
  • Mortifying our passions and moderating our desires to keep the flesh subject to the spirit
  • Separating our minds from terrestrial, carnal and temporal objects, to occupy our thoughts and affections only with celestial, spiritual and eternal things
  • Receiving patiently from the hand of God all adversities which happen to us
  • Embracing willingly all the trials of the spiritual life - the cross of love which is the portion of a few favoured souls.
This is all quite daunting, of course. In the second half of the chapter, he shows how this way of the cross is in fact the only route to true happiness. As he says:
I shall first lay down as a general rule, that there is no, and never can be, upon this earth any real happiness but by the way of the cross,. I say that it costs us far more to be lost than to be saved; that the wicked have in one sense, even in this world, far more to suffer than the good, becaues they suffer without consolation and without hope; that they are in a continual trouble and agitation, never daring to look within, or to reflect; never at peace, always condemned by the secret reproach of their conscience. If ther wer only this insgle reason for carrying one's cross as a Christian, viz., that by so doing we escape the remores which tears the liberting and the unbeliever, we should need no more to defend the doctrine of the Gospel and to exculpate it from unnecessary harshness.
He then goes on to show how each of the five ways of carrying the cross is its own source of peace and consolation.

(I should clarify, with regard to the third point, that Grou would of course accept that those who have worldly responsibilities should fulfil them conscientiously - perhaps the most effective teacher of this was St Josemaria Escriva who explained the sanctification of everyday life and work.)

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