“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may go to heaven.” ~ St. Rose of Lima
Go ahead and admit it. If you’re anywhere around my age, after you ready the title and even before you got to the text of today’s reflection, your brain is already playing the introductory riff from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.
People have been looking for an easy way to heaven throughout the ages. They try to focus their energy on the minimal way to get there. Doing so defeats the whole purpose of being a follower of Jesus, however. There is no easy path. There is no escalator or elevator to heaven. We can’t just ask to get beamed up, either. No. The stairway is an arduous one because, as St. Rose of Lima reminds us, the stairway is the cross.
“Take up your cross and follow after me.” Jesus spoke this to His followers and speaks it to anyone who will listen to Him. Taking up His cross is not an easy thing to do. It is a burden. Yet Jesus promises us that He will not let us carry it alone, that He will be there with us helping us when we need.
Jesus took up His cross as He was marched along the road to Calvary. He knew that His walk was going to be long, difficult, and painful. He took up His cross, nonetheless, because He had one thought in mind: saving you and me.
Knowing this, perhaps it might make the burdens that we have selected to do this Lenten season easier to bear. As we perform our corporal and spiritual works of mercy, as we give up some of our favorite things, as we go out of our way to do good for others, let us be encouraged by Jesus’ sacrifice of love. What wondrous love indeed!
FAITH ACTION: Remembering that Friday is the day that Jesus was crucified for us, make an attempt to perform some worthy act of repentance today.
The Fridays of Lent are Days of Abstinence