Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 22 of Lent :: Take up your Cross

“Whoever wants to be my disciple
must deny himself and take up his cross
and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24

“There will always be many who love Christ’s heavenly kingdom, but few who will bear his cross,” wrote Thomas à Kempis in his 15th century classic, Imitation of Christ. “Jesus has many who desire consolation, but few who care for adversity. He finds many to share his table, but few who will join him in fasting. Many are eager to be happy with him; few wish to suffer anything for him. Many will follow him as far as the breaking of bread, but few will remain to drink from his passion. Many are awed by his miracles, few accept the shame of his cross.

Many love Christ as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless him as long as they receive some comfort from him. But if Jesus hides himself and leaves them for a while, they either start complaining or become dejected. Those, on the contrary, who love him for his own sake and not for any comfort of their own, praise him both in trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if Jesus should never comfort them, they would continue to praise and thank him.

What power there is in a pure love for Jesus
– love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!

When you get to the point where, for Christ’s sake, suffering becomes sweet, consider yourself fortunate, for you have found paradise on earth. But as long as adversity irks you, as long as you try to avoid suffering, you will be discontent and ill at ease. Realize that to know Christ you must lead a dying life. The more you die to yourself, the more you will live unto God. You will never enjoy heavenly things unless you are ready to suffer hardship for Christ. Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more helpful for you on this earth. When there is a choice to be made, take the narrow way. This alone will make you more like Christ.”*

Action: Choose (or make) a cross to wear or carry with you during the next days of Lent. Let it be always a sign of solidarity with Jesus rather than mere decoration.

*Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ.

No comments: