Josemaría Escrivá Obras
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Make it a habit to mingle with the characters who appear in the New Testament. Capture the flavour of those moving scenes where the Master performs works that are both divine and human, and tells us, with human and divine touches, the wonderful story of his pardon for us and his enduring Love for his children. Those foretastes of Heaven are renewed today, for the Gospel is always true: we can feel, we can sense, we can even say we touch God's protection with our own hands; a protection that grows stronger as long as we keep advancing despite our stumbles, as long as we begin again and again, for this is what interior life is about, living with our hope placed in God.

Unless we aspire to overcome the obstacles both within and without, we will not obtain the reward. '"No athlete wins a crown, if he has not fought in earnest;" and the fight would not be genuine if there were no opponent to fight with. Therefore, if there is no opponent, there will be no crown; for there can be no victor without someone vanquished.'

Far from discouraging us, the difficulties we meet have to spur us on to mature as Christians. This fight sanctifies us and gives effectiveness to our apostolic endeavours. As we contemplate those moments when Jesus, in the Garden of Olives and later mocked and abandoned on the Cross, accepts and loves the Will of his Father, all the while feeling the enormous weight of the Passion, we must be convinced that in order to imitate Christ, and be good disciples of his, we must take his advice to heart, 'If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me.' That is why I like to ask Jesus, for myself, 'Lord, no day without a cross!' Then, through God's grace, our characters will grow strong and we will become a point of support for our God, over and above our own wretchedness.

Take a nail, for instance. If you meet no resistance when you hammer it into a wall, what can you expect to hang on it? Likewise, if we do not let God toughen us through sacrifice, we will never become Our Lord's instruments. On the other hand, if we decide to accept difficulties gladly and make use of them for the love of God, then in the face of what is difficult and unpleasant, when things are hard and uncomfortable, we will be able to exclaim with the apostles James and John, 'Yes, we can!'

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