Luke 9: 23-25
from Pope St. John Paul II:
Message for World Youth Day XVI, 2001
I’ve had this problem lately. Like, hardcore. I have issues embracing my cross. I don’t know if it’s my pride or desire to not suffer, but picking up my cross and embracing it has been such an incredible challenge over the past several months.
Yet our Lord says
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Pretty cut and dry. No sugarcoating here. In order for me to be a disciple of Christ, I need to work on learning how to embrace my cross even though it sucks. I hate it. I don’t like it. It’s too big for me to carry.
But whenever I gaze upon a crucifix… my suffering begins to take meaning. My cross becomes easier to bear. Why? Because He bore the wounds and hung from that tree. For me. Out of love.
It’s so jarring to have a modern understanding of “love” and to look at a crucifix, which is the greatest act of love man has ever known. It goes against our modern sensibilities and logic regarding love because we understand love to be about what feels good and gives us the warm fuzzies. I cannot buy into the idea that the Passion of Christ was all about feeling good. No, He endured that for us. For you. For me. Out of love.
So then, that then becomes my motivation for embracing my cross. As much as I don’t like it, as much as it sucks, …I need to learn how to embrace it as long as I call myself a Christian. Embrace. Out of love.
I’ll ask Mary to help me obtain the graces necessary to embrace my cross because as it has been increasingly evident to me, I cannot handle it on my own. I need Christ to help me carry my cross for His burden is light.
And not just help me obtain the graces necessary to embrace my cross, but to carry a spirit of humility. My ego ever gets inflated so easily.
A Rosary a day keeps Satan at bay. Even if a decade or two is in Spanish.