Earl was a seventy-five-year-old man, one of Earl’s birthday traditions was to get his annual physical. Earl had been hard-working as a laborer all his life, he loved what he did and refused to retire as long as he was able to still hold his own. The doctor came into the exam room and introduced himself.
Good morning Earl, I’m Dr. Joe Philips, I have just recently taken over my father’s practice. Dad told me about you he was right, you have the body of a thirty-year-old athlete. After giving Earl his physical he sat down to review things with him. He said Earl you are in amazing health; my only concern is the large callus on your right shoulder. Earl said that isn’t just a callus that is a symbol of my love and devotion to Jesus Christ. Jesus asked me to pick up my cross and carry it. So I have every day for the last fifty years. And I will continue to carry it until I take my last breath.
May you and I pray for an increase of the virtue of fortitude that we may have the courage to pick up our cross and carry it daily.
One of my favorite prayers written by St. Bernard is titled A Prayer to the Shoulder Wound of Christ. Allow me to share a portion of it with you.
O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of the Cross. Amen.