Anyway, the only reason I mention all that unpleasantness to you is to say that I was more thankful than ever for the Catholic practice of "offering it up." When things got tough, I'd offer again this sacrifice for a friend who needs prayer. It didn't make things any more pleasant, of course, but somehow with underlying meaning ... not "wasting" the pain ... it made it easier to get through.
Also, I was continually grateful for Christ's example on the cross. I'd think, "well this is nothing like facing nails through my feet" and it did put everything in proportion for me.
The final thing that came to mind was this lengthy quote which Magnificat magazine featured sometime in the last month or so. It is a good meditation and gave me another reason to "embrace" my cross with the best grace I could (sometimes not too gracefully but ... still ... I kept trying).
Crosses are the great means God employs to deny self-love in us and to increase and purify his love within us. While we, on our side, labor for these two ends by the means which he has placed at our disposal.Even typing this in it became clear to me how many opportunities there were in my experience. I had to humble myself to the doctor's authority in agreeing to this "check up" test (I'd fought him off for several years on this issue). I realized how out of proportion my desire for regular meals had become. Yes, it's only natural to like regular meals, but my internal resistance to a clear liquid diet for a day was much more rebellious than natural dejection at this idea. And so on and so forth.
The crosses finish the work; without them it would be imperfect.
The reason of this is clear. Self cannot kill itself; the blow must be struck from elsewhere and self must rest passive in receiving it.
As long as I act I live; I shall mortify myself in vain, I shall not succeed in dying spiritually by my own efforts.
God must do this for me. He must act within me, and the fire of love must consume the victim.
There are so many different kinds of crosses that it is impossible to enumerate them all; and the same crosses are capable of infinite variety.
They change according to different characters, different circumstances, different degrees. Some are simply painful, others are humiliating, others unite humiliation to pain.
Some assail a man in his worldly possessions, in those who are dear to him in his health, in his honor, even in his life.
Others assail him in his spiritual interests, in that which touches his conscience, in that which concerns his eternal salvation; and these are undoubtedly the most frequent, the most destructive, and the most difficult to bear ...
All have an effect upon us which inward mortification is unable to produce, and without them we cannot expect to attain to an eminent degree of holiness.
Father Jean-Nicholas Gage
I am thankful for the mindset that allows me to take this experience and learn lessons, offer my suffering for others so it has deeper meaning, and reset my humility. I wouldn't have those without Christ and the Catholic Church. So much to be grateful for ... including those crosses to help finish God's work in me.