In my difficulties I ought to take my crucifix. It is not without reason that, on the day of my vows, I received the image of my sorrowful Savior. The Church foresaw that to keep my Rule which I received that day, the image of Christ nailed to the wood would not be too much. And then besides how many trials both from health and from my apostolate can spring up!
When the Arabs invaded Cordova, they built a mosque in the city. They attached to one of its pillars a former Spanish nobleman reduced to slavery; he remained steadfast in his faith until death, but in order to support his faith in the frightful struggle, he had by dint of effort dug with his nails a cross on the stone column to which he was chained. This mosque has since become a Catholic Church; and the cross dug into the pillar can still be seen.
In order to encourage himself to suffer, the tortured prisoner wished to have near him the sight of the cross. He thus felt less alone. He remembered all that Christ had suffered and that helped him to endure, for love of his Savior, all that the tormentors inflicted on him.
"My Jesus who suffered so much for me, encourage me in my difficult moments. You know how weak and cowardly I am before sacrifice. May my crucifix help me in necessary renunciations, help me as much as the cross on the pillar helped the Spanish prisoner of the Arabs. May the thought of Your suffering help me offer You my suffering and may Your love stimulate mine."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)