Hold Fast

Be a friend of Christ, a friend of His Cross - lean on Him, and He will make this journey sweet in the midst of bitter.
Sometimes, a sober reminder is helpful. 

As I work on completing a new writing project (no announcement yet!), I stumbled across this little reflection that I wrote when working on my spiritual warfare manual for youth and their parents.  I have touched it up here a bit and I hope it is helpful, to you or to someone you know:
If you have in your mind that the Christian life is easy, with a smooth path, few obstacles, mystical visions along the way, few demands and requirements, and everyone gets to Heaven just fine, then you have been deceived. 
Read the lives of the Saints. 
I was shocked as I was recently reading some of Padre Pio's letters to his spiritual director.  He was very burdened by the spiritual work that Our Lord required of him, by the opposition that he faced from others, and by the diabolical attacks he constantly endured. 
A famous story from the life of St. Teresa of Avila involves a moment when, while traveling, she fell into the mud along the road.  Finding herself in that undesirable situation, she looked up to Heaven and said to Our Lord, “If this is how you treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few!” 
It takes a true friend of God to speak this way without offending Him. 
But notice one thing she says, “Our Lord has few friends.” 
Why is that? 
Because He has said, “If you love Me, you will keep My Commandments.” How many are there that do this, or even, nowadays, try to do this? 
He commands us to pray, to fast, to give alms, to do battle against our weaknesses, to be detached from the things of this earth, to be in a state of longing for Heaven, and to do battle against evil.
This is no easy task.  It is accomplishable, but it requires much from us.
Be a friend of Christ, a friend of His Cross - lean on Him, obey Him, stay with Him, and He will make this journey sweet in the midst of bitter.
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The story of my own youth and conversion, told to youth and young adults through the lens of spiritual warfare.  
This book is back in the author's hands again - details coming soon 
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