This saying by Jesus is very prominent in the Gospels. Does it have one definitive meaning or multiple layers of interpretation? My questions tend to be open-ended by nature so don’t feel too constrained. Thoughts on this verse? Meanings? Unique ways that you see this teaching. Concrete examples from your lives and the lives of others? Don’t be shy. All thoughts are welcome.
It is interesting that you quote J P… here’s what I found out when I checked for him:
Jean Pierre de Caussade (7 March 1675 – 8 December 1751) was a French Jesuit priest and writer known for the work ascribed to him, Abandonment to Divine Providence
This pretty much hits on the query… take on your daily cross and rely on God’s Providence!
Christ is Calling the Believer to take all of his/hers life’s experiences, each day, and Follow Him… how:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]20 ‘For I tell you, if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.
(St. Matthew 5:20)
37 Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’
(St. Matthew 22:37-40)
…so all of our experiences (good and bad) are our crosses which we must bear, each day; to Follow Jesus means that we must Fellowship in Him, Loving Yahweh God Above all and our neighbor as ourselves.
…it is the reason why the rich young man, though claiming to follow all of the Commandments from early childhood, failed to submit to Christ’s Call… he could not put himself in God’s Hand (Divine Providence) and he refused to carry a cross (interesting thought for Catholics and non-Catholics alike).
Don’t ask, “why me”, but ask “how can I help?”
Take all of your troubles & struggles each day and give them to Jesus…He won’t abandon you.
From the commentary of the 1941 Confraternity New Testament:
Matthew 16, 24-28: The Doctrine of the Cross. Parallels in Mark 8, 34-39 and Luke 9, 23-27. This passage is intimately connected with the preceding, for not only must Christ suffer first in order to enter into His glory, but His disciples must do the same.
- If anyone wishes: no one is forced; it must be an act of free will aided by Grace. To come after me: to be my follower, my disciple. Christ does not say directly that His disciples must deny certain pleasures “to himself,” but that he must deny himself (direct object). Just as Peter “denied” Christ, so also the disciple must say that he does not know himself, his sinful self has no claim on his allegiance. Take up his cross: figurative language borrowed from the custom of the time according to which a man condemned to crucifixion had to carry his own cross to the place of execution (see Commentary on John 19, 17). That our Lord is using a metaphor is clear from the word “daily” in Luke. The cross that the follower of Christ must willingly embrace is any suffering, even martyrdom itself, that results from being a true disciple of Christ. Cf. 10, 38. 25. Similar sayings of Christ in 10, 39; Luke 14, 26; 17, 33; John 12, 25. In the original the word that is translated here twice as life is the same word that is translated twice in the next verse as soul. This word is used both of the life-principle and life itself and indeed both in regard to the natural life and in regard to the supernatural life. Therefore the sense is, "He who would save his mortal life by being unfaithful to me will lose his immortal life (his soul); but he who loses his mortal life for my sake will save his immortal life (his soul). 26. In exchange for: literally, “as barter-value for”; nothing in the world has as much value as one’s immortal soul.
Mark 8, 34-39: The Doctrine of the Cross. Parallels in Matt. 16, 24-28 and Luke 9, 23-27. 38. Cf. Matt. 10, 33. 39. The full expression, the kingdom of God coming in power is peculiar to Mark and is best understood in the sense of “the manifestation of divine power in the establishing of God’s Kingdom on earth,” such as would be visible even during the lifetime of the Apostles.
Luke 9, 23-27: The Doctrine of the Cross. Parallels in Matt. 16, 24-28 and Mark 8, 34-39. 23. The word daily is in Luke alone. This shows clearly that our Lord is speaking of the cross in a figurative sense, for a man cannot be crucified in the literal sense every day. We must take up the cross of self-denial anew every day, if we are to persevere in the following of Christ.
Dealing with your daily sufferings and trials as a human being, and also the persecution one faces in living a truly authentic Christian life, while being faithful to God and Christ.
It’s nice to see you posting again!
I personally think that what “picking up your cross” means is to do just like Jesus asks us to do, and that is to pick up whatever Crosses we may have in life–physical, emotional, spiritual, and so on–and follow Him, remaining faithful to Our Lord and trusting in Him despite our struggles, knowing that He will help us to carry our Crosses in this life.
I like everyone’s answers on this thread. They’re all very thoughtful!
I think this is a very good explanation. Clear and to the point!
A cross could be many things. An obsession, a disability, a habit, physical pain like arthritis. A famous example was Saint Paul who had a “thorn in his side.” We can ask Christ to take this cross away, and sometimes he will. Each situation is unique.
So, we are asked to take our pains and sorrows, whatever it may be and bear them with patience and above all humility. We can also offer up our sufferings for reparation for our sins, and those of others. In this way, our cross offers us something positive. It helps others, and glorifies God. It also helps purify us in our walk towards eternal salvation.
It’s good to see you again, Jamal.
It speaks to me of perseverance, of not giving up when confronted, time and again, with the same challenge, or, perhaps, with a new challenge.
May the Holy Spirit gift us with fortitude.
It means to sacrifice your life every day.
2 Corinthians 12: Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. *** Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. ****** But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”*** Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Oh, how I feel like Paul when he said that. Paul had a cross, and in his humanity, desired with the Lord to take it away from him, which also reminded me of Christ in the Garden of Getsethmane.
There are so many crosses in our lives. One is accepting the cross of forgiveness. It’s hard sometimes to choose to forgive, and give that forgiveness to someone as a gift. How they choose to accept it is their choice, but for us, sometimes, it can truly be a heavy thing. But the more we choose to forgive, in time, God’s grace is like a healing balm.
For years, I had resentment in my heart for a particular individual who had hurt me very badly many years ago. Initially his behavior kept me up at night, and in my head, I had made up all kinds of ways of vengence. (One of them, was sneaking to his house in the middle of the night and slashing all of his tires) It’s funny, because he is a kind of a wary guy, who has every one of his properties completely armed and camera-ed up, so if I had done it then, I’d really look the fool, lol.
A few years ago, in the practice of trying to grow in holiness, I knew I had to forgive him, and I made the choice to do that. It was easier than I thought, because he wasn’t in my life, and I didn’t have to face him at all. And in some gatherings, he left before I showed up, so I didn’t even have to confront him.
Well, yesterday my mother died. And there was no choice. I had to confront him. But it didn’t feel like a confrontation. He stood in front of me, and turned his head in a gesture of compassion and opened his arms to me for a hug, (which was the reverse of the behavior in the past which was hurtful).
It was very healing. Today we all had to spend time together going over the arrangements, and although I am still a little wary, the resentment is gone. I realize that he loved my mom as well, and is grieving in his own way, and trying to be helpful to the children of my mom in the best way he can.
I am trying to Trust Our Lord in this as best as I can. And I believe that this cross, this thorn, has been removed.
My other cross is a debilitating skin disease which makes it hard to be in public at times. Sometimes people look at me as if I am contagious and their faces curl with fear or derision. It’s not always really bad, but it’s almost always really painful. I KNOW THAT this is my cross. I am doing the best to allow healing to happen, but at the same time, I’m uniting this situation for our Lord’s good purpose, and hoping that I suffer well. I’ve had it for over a year now.
God Bless Your Cross
What others see as crosses in my life are in fact blessings. For all around me. I have no “rights”, or expectations so no disappointments.
Others see my increasing frailty and loss of mobility as handicaps. In fact they lead me to focus on Jesus as they remove obligations and occupations.
Give me freedom and joy.
There is a great storm raging around this old cottage high on a mountain. High gale and lashing rain. But inside there is safety and peace.
crosses? No. Jesus bore that for us. If we see life events as crosses?
I view it as how we choose to respond to those crosses. Three cancers and now rejection issues from a stem cell transplant. I am struggling to joyfully embrace suffering for love of God - in the manner of the great Saints. It is my daily challenge to put my suffering to good use. Then, is it really suffering?
Ir IS but it loses its impact.
These days as my mobility wanes, getting out of bed each morning is a very real and painful effort but I just '. have accepted that this is so… I add words like HEEEEEEEEAVE! Then,“Thank You Lord;” then tackle the stairs…
And I am sorry for your great troubles. Stay strong in His love. Prayers here.
God entrusts us with our crosses. Our suffering not only makes us stronger and more courageous, but works toward our redemption when bourn with love and thanksgiving.
My example is bad thing happen and are going to happen, but it is how we deal with them. We either try to ignore, escape, deny, or we take it head on.
To me it is the trials I am to go through and I say okay God lead me, help me, and lets get it done.
It is the trials that bring us closer to God in the end, but what ironic is during them as footprints states God was carrying you and you did not even know it, until it was over. You thought you were on your own, and then look back and always see the footprints in the sand.
I commend you for sharing… everything involves deep feelings and loss or lack of control… it is interesting that Catholics and non-Catholics take God at His Word… yet we don’t Believe when He Commands that we Forgive as we want Him to Forgive us…
…it shows tremendous Spiritual Growth when we are able to put aside our hurt and, in Christ’s Name, Forgive those who trespass or have trespassed against us…
…also, which many times people do not seem to put together, Forgiveness releases us from the Burden that we Carry (as does the Sacrament of Confession); God’s Commands are not only Righteous but also a Blessing for us–when we Forgive or are Forgiven our Spiritual and physical health gets a boost! We win twice when we put our hurt or ego aside and Allow God to Cleanse (Heal) us… Confession and Forgiveness are wonderful tools that assist us in our sojourn.
…I’ll keep you in my prayers; please, do not allow other people’s reactions and fear to force you into hiding–simply Love people without passing judgment when they react negatively towards you; sadly the fear of our mortality heightens when we encounter those who are suffering from an illness, decease, or imperfection.
The world, including all Christians, need prayer warriors… in your frailty, Christ can be quite strong; by Standing for Christ and in Christ you can Bring Down the Blessings that God has Designed for the world.