Take Up Your Cross…
Jesus challenges His disciples, and us, to let go of our lives:
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.” -Mark 8:34-35, NAB
Letting go of our earthly life can be one of the most difficult challenges that we will face as a Catholic. Our dreams for our career, family, and other goals have to come second to our desire to please God, even if that means bearing a few crosses for Him. Are we spiritually strong enough for this?
Now, by no means, am I telling you that you cannot still have earthly goals. Yes, it is okay to want to succeed in your career. Yes, you can have a desire to have a large family. Yes, you can have “becoming a rockstar” on your bucket list. You simply cannot place these dreams and goals ahead of God’s will. It is your will that these things come true, but what is His will?
Giving up our dreams, or at least de-prioritizing them, is only the first cross that we are asked to bear. Often times, we will face other obstacles and challenges in our journey that become true struggles in our lives. When we face trials, we must stay true to our faith and place our trust in God’s plan for our lives. This cross can heavily outweigh the first.
The final cross that I’ll discuss (and there are many more) is being willing to actually, physically give your life up for God. We can see examples of this in the lives of the saints and martyrs that came before us. Some of them literally took up their own cross in the name of Christ. While we may never face a situation like this, what would you do?
Throughout our lives, we will each be called to carry a number of crosses. Some may involve simply sacrificing our own will for God’s. Other times, we may be asked to give up more. Christ gave His life up for you – are you willing to give your life up for Him?