The Role of the Cross
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. – Matthew 16:24
This really comes as no surprise to us in human life. We know that suffering is a very real part of the human condition. None of us has escaped it, none of us will. Yet, we also delude ourselves with strange ideas like, ‘If I make enough money, or win the lottery, I will no longer suffer in this life. The irony is that for all of the appearances of comfort, the wealthy are not immune to the suffering that comes from the chaotic injustices of the world, or from their own poor, ill-conceived decisions.
It is not the avoidance of the cross that brings meaning to our lives; it is the acceptance of it that does. If we choose to love Jesus, then we must love as Jesus loved. In this world, that means that we will suffer, but that our suffering, in union with Christ’s, will be a source of grace, not just for us, but for others. A passive love has no life in it. Only a love willing to suffer for those one loves has forgiveness, and healing, and, therefore, life in it.
There is no depth of soul, no spiritual maturity without the cross. Jesus has promised that if we do this, he will be with us always. Let us take up the cross then and follow him. The rewards will be greater than our sufferings. Believe!