It is not easy to ‘take up the cross’ even when we understand what that means. Nor even when we actually know which one is really meant for us.
Fear or Freedom
People can be so afraid of dying that they never really live. Some want so much that they never give and wind up with nothing of importance. Others, like Jean Vanier, give and give, yet have so much. We understand this, but it is difficult to live it.
Life in an ‘instant’ society presents its own difficulties as we try to follow Jesus. Discipleship is about obedience, which is not a popular word in our culture. It is a life commitment, which is something many people cannot imagine. And it is about doing the same thing over and over, being consistent. As it is not a quickly-learned tool available for our convenience, discipleship does not fit our society’s desire for instant results and gratification.
Our society does praise winning athletes who are obedient to their coaches. We admire musicians and artists who are obedient to the enormous demands of their vocation. Even in the business world we see that only commitment brings quality. And the very best of anything worthwhile is accomplished when people apply themselves to the basics with an attitude that there is always something new to learn. In this way they continue to grow.
This is the hardest, yet most satisfying and most powerful aspect of following Christ. By picking up our crosses, we will suffer and change. This will bring growth and new life. If we keep our eyes on the Lord, what we must endure takes on meaning and is given its true perspective.
My thanks to the Lord and to all who made possible our successful celebrations for the Feast of St. Monica – despite the rain – with a beautiful outdoor Mass and terrific ‘indoor barbeque’.
The journey of discipleship follows a long road with no shortcuts, but perseverance, faith and hope will bring us to a life that no one else can offer.