Take Up Your Cross

This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Paul H. Colloton, OSFS/OPA

Holy Thursday is next week. Lent ends with the celebration of the Holy Thursday Evening Mass. The Triduum, the Great Three Days, begins, that bridge connecting Lent with the Easter Season. We will hear the Lord’s Passion proclaimed next week, from Luke on “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” and from John on Good Friday. We adore the Holy Cross on Good Friday, but we sign ourselves with the cross nearly daily as Catholics. And we wear crosses to witness our faith. Our Oblate Profession Cross does not have a corpus, because we are to be the Christ that people see. All Christians are to be the Christ that people see, too. We put Christ on in Baptism.

One of my favorite sayings about the cross comes from St. Francis de Sales: "To take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ means nothing other than receiving and accepting all the troubles, contradictions, afflictions and mortifications that come our way in this life. We should accept them with complete submission and resignation. We ought not select our own crosses, but we should accept and carry those that are offered to us. In this way we imitate the Savior, who did not choose His own cross, but humbly took upon Himself the one prepared for Him." (Sermons 2; O. IX, p. 18).

I do not wish to suggest that receiving and accepting the troubles, contradictions, afflictions, and mortifications of life is easy. It isn’t. I have learned that the only way to Resurrection is living through them. If we fight our crosses or avoid them, they don’t go away. We die without hope. But when we accept them and live through them, we can find life. We must honestly express our feelings about them. Even Christ prayed in Gethsemane: “Father, let this cup can pass me by, but not my will, but yours be done.” When I wrote last time I was hospitalized with a “non-specific virus.” I was hospitalized again a few weeks later and given the same diagnosis. With another flare-up I saw a different doctor and have a new diagnosis. Now I have a treatment. I have hope. But that cross is still with me. I’m learning to live in new ways while carrying it. I’m finding life.

What is your cross: A broken relationship; A chronic disease; A terminal diagnosis for you or a friend; A job loss; An addiction; Not being accepted into a school, program or job? We don’t need to go looking for crosses. They come to us, sometimes all too often. Imitate Jesus, honestly accept your cross, learn from it, and carry it, even with help. The cross is Jesus’ victory over sin and death. Adore the cross on Good Friday. Walk the Way of the Cross with Jesus this Holy Week. Take up your cross and find Jesus in your midst. May God be Praised!