"Take up your cross and follow me"


#1

We all know the old verse from Matthew that receives a lot of emphasis from all sides, especially in this period of Lent…

Matt 16:24 - Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."

I guess what Christ means by “denying ourselves” and “follow Him” are pretty straightforward… But “taking up my cross”? I mean, what cross was Jesus taking up on His shoulders during the Passion if I have take my own cross myself anyway? I guess I’m having a hard time interpreting this piece of Scripture, and everyone seems to think I should intuitively understand what it means, having people giving me ankward looks when I don’t have a clue when they bring up that expression. But I’m troubled to understand its inherent meaning, without mentioning that I have no idea how to put that order from Christ into my life…
I mean, is it giving up my comodities and my desires and my pleasures and give up everything from myself to give away everything to God and His people? I thought that was what Jesus meant by “denying ourselves”. Is it growing fond of Him and making Him and His sacrifice for me the focus and the central aspect of the meaning of my life, living by following His example, like the saints did? I thought that was what He meant by “following Him”… What am I missing? :confused:

Any help would be much appreciated. God bless you all :thumbsup:

Pax Christi!


#2

I see you are from Portugal.
I visited Fatima many years ago.
Here is an answer from this perspective:

"Our Lady’s question to the three children is also significant for those who wish to enter into the Admirable Alliance of Hearts like them: “Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the suffering He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

ewtn.com/library/MARY/FIRSTSAT.HTM


#3

I well remember my Grandma listening to people’s complaints and replying sweetly, “It is your cross to bear. Offer it up for the poor souls in Puratory.”

That is exactly what I believe is meant by the cross in that verse. Each of us bears a different cross composed of the difficulties and hurts which we must endure in life. Some, like chronic illness, can be quite serious, and others can just be the day-to-day annoyances that surround us.


#4

Given your replies, am I going too far in concluding that “taking up your cross” is to embrace the suffering the world gives us in the same way that Christ embraced it in His Passion, as it is through it that we become holy and, in the long run, saints? :slight_smile:


#5

I believe that is the correct view of the verse. :thumbsup:


#6

Yes, embrace suffering and offer it up to God.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’'t do things to reduce suffering that isn’t necessary (especially other people’s) or speak out against unjust treatment. But it does no good to just grumble about certain things that won’t change, and sometimes speaking out and fighting don’t work. Those things are our crosses.

Of course, we can also offer up everything else we experience, like joy and contentment.

“Lift up your hearts/We lift them up to the Lord.” is all about offering up all our lives and thoughts and feelings to God.


#7

I think the verse also includes our willingness to sacrifice worldly things in favor of receiving the Holy Spirit. Walking with Jesus should result in great feelings of LOVE! Not a bad trade in any sense.


#8

=ServantPD;11806651]We all know the old verse from Matthew that receives a lot of emphasis from all sides, especially in this period of Lent…

Matt 16:24 - Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."

I guess what Christ means by “denying ourselves” and “follow Him” are pretty straightforward… But “taking up my cross”? I mean, what cross was Jesus taking up on His shoulders during the Passion if I have take my own cross myself anyway? I guess I’m having a hard time interpreting this piece of Scripture, and everyone seems to think I should intuitively understand what it means, having people giving me ankward looks when I don’t have a clue when they bring up that expression. But I’m troubled to understand its inherent meaning, without mentioning that I have no idea how to put that order from Christ into my life…
I mean, is it giving up my comodities and my desires and my pleasures and give up everything from myself to give away everything to God and His people? I thought that was what Jesus meant by “denying ourselves”. Is it growing fond of Him and making Him and His sacrifice for me the focus and the central aspect of the meaning of my life, living by following His example, like the saints did? I thought that was what He meant by “following Him”… What am I missing? :confused:

Any help would be much appreciated. God bless you all :thumbsup:

Pax Christi!

For Jesus in his HUMAN nature time did exist

For Jesus SON of God time does not exist; everything is always “present”. The past, present and future are ALL known by God.

The term “cross” here has multiple meanings.

It it means any and ALL suffering as well as Christ Passion and Suffering. And it can be very minor like being stuck in traffic or something serious like cancer, and everything in between.

This same lesson is repeated severl times so its one God desires ALL of us to comply with.

God Bless you,
Patrick


#9

I participate in the R.C.I.A. at my parish church. In our R.C.I.A. class on Sunday, the catechist gave a somewhat similar reply when someone asked what does carrying one’s cross mean? He said it could mean something different to many people. I asked about Simon of Cyrene being pressed into service to help carry Jesus’ cross. If that was an example for us? I see ourselves being in Simon’s situation. What will our response be when we are called to carry our cross? I like the previous replies so far.


#10

I was having problems understanding this too. You’re not alone! Thank you for posting.


#11

“Take up your** cross and follow me**.”

The cross would refer to sufferings that come into our life - especially sufferings that are not caused by some sinful or foolish action of our own.

The “follow me” would mean to accept it

1) in the same manner as Our Lord.
Jesus willingly accepted the suffering because it was the Father’s will (since the Father did not prevent it after Our Lord’s prayer in the Garden).
When we have sufferings - especially undeserved sufferings - we can also pray to have them removed. But if God chooses to allow them to continue, we should accept it as Hisd will.

2) for the same purpose as Our Lord.
Jesus accepted it and offered it up for the salvation of souls. We should do the same.


#12

I’d like to give a different answer. We often understand the ‘cross’ the expression ‘to carry one’s cross’ nowadays as being figurative of problems and sufferings and whatnot, but at the time of Jesus the cross wasn’t some vague, abstract concept, it was a concrete reality - an execution device like the electric chair or the gallows or what have you. I don’t think Jesus was using a flowery metaphor and simply saying “carry your troubles” when He said “take up your cross.” The original audience might have understood Jesus’ words to mean something more literal: that when one chooses to follows Jesus, one should be prepared to actually carry a real cross just like He did. In other words, be ready to be spat on, to be horribly tortured, and to die a shameful death as a criminal. It’s a rather graphic invitation to martyrdom, to take a walk on the wild side - since only criminals and slaves were crucified. If you’re gonna follow Jesus, know in advance that you may - not ‘may’ so much as ‘gonna’ - lose your life in the process.


#13

Here are the comments of the Early Church Fathers (Catena Aurea), as collected by Saint Thomas Aquinas, and translated by John Henry Cardinal Newman: veritasbible.com/commentary/catena-aurea/Matthew_16:24-25


#14

Did you receive Fr. Barron’s Daily Lenten Reflection on this exact subject?

"Jesus summed up his teaching with a word that must have been gut-wrenching to his first century audience: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Now, his listeners knew what the cross meant. It mean a death in utter agony, nakedness, and humiliation. They didn’t think of the cross automatically in religious terms, as we do, for they knew it in all of its awful power.

Yet Jesus places this terrible image at the foundation of the spiritual life. Unless you crucify your ego, you cannot be my follower.

But how should we take up our own cross? It requires not just being willing to suffer, but being willing to suffer as Jesus did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and non-violent love, thereby transforming it.

We turn to Jesus on his cross and carry ours in imitation–loving what he loved, despising what he despised. We “come after him” through own sacrificial love."


#15

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