Monday, October 29, 2018
Then Jesus told His disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then He will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” – Matthew 16:24-28
What does Christ mean by “deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me”?
His words seem to speak of a sequence … denial of self, taking up the cross, following Christ.
Denial of self is to set aside the self-centeredness without obliterating one’s personhood. Denial of self is to take on the humility of the servant. Denial of self is to reach beyond the boundaries of one’s own needs and to care for the needs of others. Denial of self is to no longer consider that it is not all about you.
Taking up the cross is to share in Christ’s act of self-giving Love. Taking up the cross is also to make the necessary sacrifices that your faithfulness will require. Taking up the cross is to endure the suffering for the sake of a greater glory, the glory of the Lord found in your human expression.
Following Christ is to be obedient to His teaching until His teaching is a natural expression of your soul. Following Christ is to go to the places of need and to the people in need, as He did and as He now still intends. Following Christ is to continue His work, His wishes and ways, in your earthly share of eternity.
The cross upon which Christ suffered and died as an act of love and mercy is not the only cross in Christianity. We are all called to live with an unselfish, self-giving love for the sake of those whom Christ seeks to Love. It is a state of Being but it is also a process of Doing.
Always in Christs Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz