Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 73(2) May 2023

“Embrace the Cross, love your Cross”
A lesson learnt after 44 years

by Adrian Treloar

CrossWhen I started in Guy’s Medical School we used to meet each lunchtime to pray the Rosary. I learnt and gained much from that reality of daily prayer. And I saw a future orthopaedic surgeon kiss the cross of his Rosary every time we finished the fifth Decade.

To be honest, I thought that kissing a tiny plastic Cross was not my cup of tea. It seemed a bit odd to me! So I thought that I wouldn’t do that. But I always remembered seeing my friend kiss his crucifix and it impressed me nonetheless.

When my wife became unwell in October supplicative prayer (for myself and many others who so kindly and generously prayed) took a real upturn for me and many others. Most of all, I prayed that my wife might come home again. Then I could care for and love her as best I could.

Instinctively, I found myself kissing the cross at the end of each Rosary. After 44 years I finally saw that this is a sign of embracing the Cross, and in particular the Cross that is given to me. Embracing our crosses at work is another way in which we can receive plentiful graces. There is certainly no shortage of crosses for doctors and nurses in the NHS! For me, embracing my cross was made easy. If my Cross was to care for my wife then I truly love my Cross!

Very happily my wife is indeed home again now, although very sadly she remains very poorly. As a result this journal is published late. We apologise for that and ask for your tolerance of our lateness.

I feel as if I must be a slow learner. 44 years is a long time for anything to sink in. But it also reminds me of the profound effects that example can have. My friend never talked about kissing the Cross. He quietly did it. And -- spectacularly slowly -- I eventually understood what I was being shown.

Our Crosses form us, and bring us closer to our salvation. We are indeed called to embrace those crosses. And to hope that salvation will one day be given to us by Our Blessed Lord. A salvation we do not deserve, but which is given to us by Our Lord as a result of prayer, faith and what we do. The challenges of our day to day work are certainly part of our Crosses. Embracing our Cross is a central part of our salvation.