The Crosses That Bind Us To God

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"The crosses that bind us to God" by Tommy Tighe (CatholicMom.com)

Dominicus Johannes Bergsma [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

I have been on a gigantic Blessed Charles de Foucauld kick as of late, thanks in part to Dorothy Day frequently mentioning him in a collection of her private letters called All The Way To Heaven. Dorothy was drawn to Blessed Charles’ desire to live the same poverty Our Lord experienced in Nazareth, devote himself to manual labor, and become the least in the eyes of the world while helping Christ present in the poor around him. 

As I have delved further into the life of Blessed Charles, I find myself drawn to his incredible perseverance despite apparent failure. Charles felt called to establish institutes of others drawn to his life of asceticism, devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and service to the poor and destitute. Despite his deep feeling of being called to carry this mission out, no one ever came; no institute was founded prior to his martyrdom; and in the eyes of the world he was a failure.

And yet, he persevered. He continued on despite no one coming. He kept praying, keep spending hours in adoration, and kept serving the poor in spite of it all. 

One quote of Blessed Charles continues to ring in my mind as I learn more about him, and it has given words to a feeling I have experienced after the death of our newborn son back in 2016:

“Crosses release us from this world, and by doing so, bind us to God.”

Every single one of us faces trials. Every single one of us experiences crosses in this life.

I spend a great deal of time complaining about my crosses, wondering why God couldn’t have allowed my life to be better, easier, and without all the pain and suffering I have faced. My complaining hit its angry peak back in 2016 when our sweet little son died less than an hour after he was born. 

I had an incredibly hard time understanding why God would allow such an evil to take place in the life of my family; why He would allow such pain, heartbreak, and sorrow. The words of Blessed Charles have helped me better understand exactly what’s going on when we are faced with crosses worse than we ever would have believed possible. 

The death of my son most certainly released us from this world. Our focus in life was completely shifted: from worries about bills, homework, and projects at office, to thoughts about our eternal destiny, what our life is all about, and inspired an greater connection to the communion of saints in heaven and the power of prayer working through the Body of Christ. 

We went from being stuck thinking about things of the world to being forcefully released from the world and bound to God. When you are stripped of everything by way of the death of a child, God is all you have left.

While I would give absolutely anything to re-write our family history, to be holding my sweet two-year-old this very minute, I realize that by allowing this tragedy in our lives, God has released us from the world and freed us up to be bound to Him. 

We want nothing else than to follow His will, to be welcomed into the salvation he has made available to us, and to be in the presence of our sweet son once again. His death, while soul-crushing, has allowed that to happen. And while it still hurts all these years later, we are confident that God will bring good out of evil, salvation out of suffering, and unconditional love out of overwhelming heartbreak. 


Copyright 2018 Tommy Tighe

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About Author

Tommy is a Catholic husband, father of four boys, and the author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (available now!).

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