Take Up Thy Cross Yesterday


Take Up Thy Cross

Yesterday at the Vigil Mass, Father John spoke on the necessity of enduring and of taking up our crosses. He used a phrase that reminded me of a great little treatise written by William Penn during a time of great persecution--"No Cross, No Crown." That is, without assuming our crosses, there is no crown of victory.

But the homily inspired two related thoughts about assuming our crosses. First, and most importantly, we are individually called to assume our unique crosses. Too often we feel the need to share our cross with those willing and equally with those unwilling. That is, we may assume our cross, but we spend too much time complaining, griping, moaning, lashing out at the innocents around us. Our Cross gives us "a right to be angry" or "a right to be a burden ourselves." By taking up our Cross we should not become a Cross to others. How often do our children, our spouses, and those around us suffer because we have assumed the burden of our Cross?

The second point is that you do not have a choice of Crosses. Just as Jesus didn't shape His end, but carried his cross to Calvary, so too, we have no choice about the shape of the device we carry. It could be illness, it could be financial burdens, it could be familial difficulties, it could be any number of things. The point is, you do not have a choice--your cross is your cross--you may either embrace it and walk with Jesus, or reject it and go your own way. Even in "rejecting" it, you still bear the burden, you simply choose to bear that burden completely alone, without the aid of a savior who has walked this way before. He knows every stone in the path. He knows ever dip in the road. He knows the way of all crosses and the weight of their burden. In many cases, were we to decide to try to carry the burden alone it would crush us. Jesus becomes our guide on the way, our Simon of Cyrene, taking up our burdens when they threaten to overburden us and destroy us.

Our crosses are unique and real. They are the emblem we wear that allow us an identity with Christ in His suffering. Rejecting the Cross is not a real option anyway. Thus, it seems logical to embrace the cross we are given and thank God that, unlike Him who first bore the Cross, we are not completely alone in bearing our burden; we have a Savior who knows the weight and the agony of that road. We have a Savior who has trodden the path, and we have around us the company of Saints, all of whom have borne their own Crosses, and whose only desire is that all should come to God. They help us, living and dead, through the power of their prayers and through their palpable fellowship. They are their with us in great crowds, loving us to Glory, praying us to salvation in Christ Jesus.

Thanks be to God for this great company of assistance, our brothers and sisters who pray for us and support us here on Earth, and those who have gone before us and who support us as we continue this Earthly journey. And she who bore the greatest Cross but one is our mainstay and chief support. She knows grief and sorrow; she knows what it is to lose a child in an ignominious way. It is a certainty that if we turn to her, she will assure that no other child is lost to her in such a way. All will come to God through her Son, and that rejoices her heart as much as the first cross sorrowed her. In our necessity, when the burden becomes too great, when we feel at an extremity, we need merely turn to our Mother and ask her for her intercession for us. Her prayers will be as effective as her entreaty at Cana. She is a sure resource and a constant attendant upon us. Thank God for His wisdom in providing us with such a Mother.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 1, 2002 8:16 AM.

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