You've probably heard the expression, "we all have our own cross to bear." No matter what denomination of Christianity you belong to, "bearing one's cross," is a significant part of that journey.
I've been hearing that expression frequently lately. I have friends going through some heartbreaking life situations. Some of them have accepted their situation as their "cross to bear," and others ... well, they are not sure what to make of what life has thrown at them. One friend literally looks like a deer in the headlights.
After hearing my friends speak of their crosses to bear, I thought about my own. Guess what? I don't have any. Seriously. I don't.
Currently, my life situation is pretty good. My family is in good health and we all have jobs. We've had some difficulties over the years, but overall we've been very blessed.
The only real cross I've had to bear was my mother and you can read about her here.
This disturbs me a bit and kind of scares me. I'm not brave like the saints so I won't be praying for God to send me a cross.
Fr. Robert Barron's Lenten Reflection the other day made me think even more:
Jesus summed up his teaching with a word that must have been gut-wrenching to his first century audience: "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Now, his listeners knew what the cross meant. It meant a death in utter agony, nakedness, and humiliation. They didn't think of the cross automatically in religious terms, as we do, for they knew it in all of its awful power.
Yet Jesus places this terrible image at the foundation of the spiritual life. Unless you crucify your ego, you cannot be my follower.
But how should we take up our own cross? It requires not just being willing to suffer, but being willing to suffer as Jesus did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and non-violent love, thereby transforming it.
We turn to Jesus on his cross and carry ours in imitation--loving what he loved, despising what he despised. We "come after him" through own sacrificial love. - Fr. Robert Barron, Lenten Reflection Day 17
I cannot be a follower of Christ unless I crucify my ego? Willing to suffer? Absorbing violence and hatred? Oh dear. I suddenly feel sick to my stomach.
How should I take up my own cross when I honestly feel I don't have one? The image of Simon helping Christ carrying the cross came to mind.
The rest of this Lent (and probably beyond), I've decided to be like Simon and help those bear their crosses through prayer and whatever else I can do. I'm going to pray that the Lord guides me through this because I certainly don't want to get in His way!
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