“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”
~ St. Rose of Lima
Due to our human condition, we are prone to look for the easy way out in all things. We often spend more time looking for an easy way to do something than it actually takes to accomplish it. Quick and easy are the hopes of many. However, there is nothing quick or easy about following the Lord. We hear, time and time again, that we must take up our cross and follow the Lord in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Everybody has a cross, a burden, that needs to be shouldered. No ones gets a pass at the requirement to carry his or her cross. Crosses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some bear the burden of physical ailments. Perhaps they have missing limbs. Some bear the burden of mental ailments such as chronic depression, schizophrenia, or other illnesses. Some bear medical illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, Parkinson’s, or other chronic and debilitating diseases. Some bear the loss of a loved one. Some bear extreme shyness. There are many things that we can list as crosses.
The manner in which we take up our crosses reflects the type of person we are. I have known people who have carried huge burdens with grace. They have been models of patience and love. They have inspired others who faced the same cross that they had to bear. They did not curse the Lord for their afflictions but, rather, drew closer to the Lord day by day. They saw their crosses as an invitation from God.
I have known others who did not bear their crosses well at all. They were mean to others, they constantly complained, and some even cursed God for what they were undergoing. Some even gave up their faith completely.
The truth is that all of us face obstacles in our lives. All of us face burdens that might appear too heavy to bear. All of us are called to shoulder our burdens with the grace that comes to us from God. All we have to do is ask God to help us and He will.
“Take up your cross, the Savior said, if you would my disciple be.” That popular Lenten song says it all. If we want to show God that we desire to live with Him, we must take up our cross and follow Him with confidence, faithfulness, and love. Endeavor not only to lift and carry your cross; but, do it in such a way as to inspire others to carry theirs as well.
FAITH ACTION: Do not shy away from the burdens of the faith today; but, ask God for the grace and strength necessary to shoulder your cross in order to follow in the footsteps of His Son.