Sunday, Jun. 19th 2016

The Heart of the Cross is Love

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

There once was a man who lamented often in prayer about the weight and size of the cross he was asked to bear in this life. H would cry out to the Lord and ask the Lord to take his cross away. One night, during prayer, the man had a vision. In it, an angel of the Lord came to him and told him his cry was heard. The angel ushered the man into a room full of crosses and told him to lay down his cross. Immediately the man did so. The Angel then told him to walk among all the crosses and chose one more suited to his nature. After hours of searching the man selected the smallest and lightest cross in the room. “That one,” he cried. The angel asked: “Are you sure that is the cross you wish to carry?” “Absolutely,” the man replied. The angel then said, “My dear man that is the cross you came in with” (Author unknown).

Denying one’s self, and taking up our personal cross is a much harder task than it seems. Really, who wants to suffer? Surely some of the great saints may have willingly embraced suffering, and a few even sought it but most of us want to suffer very little. Suffering is hard: daily carrying our cross even harder. Embracing our share of the cross means thinking of Christ first and ourselves last. It is contrary to our sinful nature and our American spirit. We are strident individualists who struggle to put others first, who have trouble enduring pain. Yet the redemptive suffering extended to every Christian, is a call to which each believer must strive to willingly answer “yes.” When we embrace the cross in our lives, we share in Christ’s suffering and participate more fully in His redemptive love.

Love, after all, is the heart of Christ’s cross. He suffered on our behalf because He first loved us. This week, let us ponder our participation in the redemptive suffering of Christ. Rather than lament the weight or size of the cross we bear, let us unite our cross with that of the Savior. Let us live in communion with Christ and see in each moment of our suffering an opportunity to draw near to Jesus whose love was so great, that He was led to sacrifice Himself that we might have life and have it more abundantly!


DSCF7322Fr. Brendan Moss, President-Rector of Conception Seminary College, is a monk of St. Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana.

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