“He who will not take up his cross and come after Me is not worthy of Me.” —Matthew 10:38
We are Christians, disciples of Christ. We follow Jesus, Who saved us not so much through His power or wisdom, but through His ministry of suffering. Jesus came to earth to die on the cross to atone for our sins, pay the price for our salvation (1 Cor 6:20), and reconcile us to God (Col 1:20).
We must never over-spiritualize our faith and forget that Jesus suffered horribly in the flesh (Heb 5:8). Jesus died a disgraceful death. He was publicly humiliated, scorned as a condemned criminal. He Who was holy and innocent bore a cross meant for a murderer (Lk 23:25).
We Christians imitate Jesus. We take up our cross each day, deny our very selves, and follow in His footsteps (Lk 9:23). This is impossible in our human nature. Through our baptism into Jesus’ cross and death, however, we become sharers in the divine nature (Rm 6:4; 2 Pt 1:4). Now we can embrace the cross as Jesus embraced His cross. In the mystery of the cross, by taking up our cross, we discover who we are (Mt 10:39).
If you falter carrying your cross, remember that Jesus understands. He fell several times carrying His cross. He knows the cross is heavy but He also wants you to know the joy in sharing in His sufferings (1 Pt 4:13). So cross off your list anything that leads you away from Jesus’ cross. Take up your cross.
Prayer: Jesus, may I know nothing but Your cross (1 Cor 2:2). May I be crucified to the world and the world to me (Gal 6:14).
Promise: “He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies Me; and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.” —Ps 50:23
Praise: A group of lay Carmelite families spread the Word of God by composing music, giving concerts at Catholic churches, and sharing God’s Word as they travel.