Which Cross will you carry?
“The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self;
there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain”
― Padre Pio
People often balk when they read comments like the above; or when Jesus talks about dying to self and taking up one's cross in order to follow him in life. What is often forgotten is that anything we give our hearts and mind to, demands the same thing. People give up everything for their careers. They lose their family, their health and peace of mind in order to get to the top of their field. Or if they give themselves over to some form of addiction, that does demand everything, body, mind, soul, and health. We give our hearts to something. We all have a pearl of great price that we will give everything up for. Many of the things we can ‘worship’ will, in the end, drain us and leave us with nothing. That is because they cannot touch that deep longing that drives us all towards some good than in the end can lead to death.
So yes, to follow Jesus also demands everything. Yet in following him, he gives us new life. When we die to ourselves his love brings us deeper into true being. Jesus is not a false god, which gives promises that can’t be kept. The Spirit of God works in all hearts who seek truth. It is a mistake many Christians make, when they limit the work of God’s grace to a particular understanding of scripture. God’s work in the world, in the hearts of all is something we are not meant to understand. We are however called to live out our faith in Christ Jesus and to proclaim it in a gentle manner. For all who seek will find and all who knock the door will be open.
Padre Pio is a great Catholic saint, and tomorrow we celebrate his feast day. He gave his life for others. He spent his days hearing confessions and leading many to a deeper love of Christ Jesus and he spoke the truth about the cost. So in the end, we choose what is most important to us, if we don’t choose, well that will also demand everything as well. We are not meant to stagnate, but to dive into the living waters that Christ promises us.
Take up your cross….that’s right. Which one do you want to carry? A cross that will grind you down and eventually take everything and in the end leaving you empty and bereft of hope, or the Cross of Christ which also demands everything but gives deeper life and healing.—Br.MD