The Cross That We Bear

Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?" Luke 9:22-25 (NAB)
"Deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  To me, these are harsh words.  Lord knows I have issues denying myself, but it's picking up the cross that is a challenge for me, because my crosses are in my past.  
I have taken care of sick relatives, neighbors and my children all at the same time.  At the time, I didn't view it as a cross to bear, but I suppose it was.  When I look back, I believe it was my faith that got me through those care-giving years.  I would take my kids to school and go to morning mass before I went on to take care of someone else.  I suppose I lost my life during that time.
These days my time is pretty much my own.  I work part time, but that's barely a blip in my routine.  I feel blessed.
I was humming a song the other day and couldn't think of what it was.  Finally the words and title came to me.  It was Marty Haugen's "We Are Many Parts:"  Here is the refrain, followed by the verses:
We are many parts, we are all one body and the gifts we have we are given to share.

May the Spirit of love make us one indeed; one, the love that we share, one, our hope in despair, one, the cross that we bear.

God of alll, we look to you, we would be your servants true, let us be your love to all the world.

So my pain is pain for  you, in your joy is my joy, too; all is brought together in the Lord.

All you seekers, great and small, seek the greatest gift of all; if you love then you will know the Lord.
Knowing the Lord, bearing that cross, giving up my life to take care of others probably shaped me into the Christian I am now.  But I also know that I'm not done.  There will be other crosses that my faith will once again stand on.

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