Jesus says “Take up your cross and Follow me” What is my cross? and what steps can I take to Identify my cross?
A cross is any sort of suffering that you have.
Just identify what holds you back from obeying God. Paul described it as a thorn in his side. For some, it is an ongoing desire to drink alcohol excessively. For someone else, it could be desires for the same-sex. My cross is dealing with a mental illness (I have psychosis). A cross is something that tries to hinder you from obeying God.
Ask the Lord to show you what the cross is in your life and how to cope with it. What He says to you is way more important than what I can offer in a forum post.
Now it is actually a misprint. It should read “Take up your crossword and follow me.” Fortunately I love crosswords, especially cryptic ones. And man I love sudoku too!
I remember reading an amazing thought decades ago (so I have no idea who the author was) about what the crosses are in our lives.
What this author said, basically, is that the cross is not the sacrifice we choose for ourselves. It’s not abstaining from meat or coffee or sugar or some other pleasure during lent, though those sacrifices are all good.
The cross Christ is talking about is the sacrifice we do not choose for ourselves, the one that repulses us, that we despise, that we beg God to take from us, that we would give anything to get rid of. When Jesus was about to embrace His cross, He begged the Father to take it from Him – “but not my will but Yours be done.”
Praying for my ex-husband sometimes occurred to me as a cross in the early years of divorce. Accepting the mangling of my hand some years back occurred to me as a cross. Accepting my state in life as a single, middle-aged mom sometimes occurs to me as a cross.
What all those things have in common is that, at times, I cannot stand their presence in my life. I am repulsed by the very thought of their existence in my life, and the thought of acceptance, of prayer, and even of praise seems beyond impossible for me.
The cross makes you want to cry out to God,
“Take this from me!”
And then we relinquish our will to His.
In reality – thanks be to God – most of us don’t have this sort of cross on a daily basis. So we take up the little pinpricks of daily life. And those are our micro-crosses.
We fulfill our daily responsibilities with cheerfulness and determination. We show kindness and patience when we’d rather be impatient and rude. We generously give of our time and talents without seeking or expecting reward or recognition. And so on.
There’s nothing wrong with the wee crosses, however. St Therese of Lisieux based her Little Way on taking these up daily, hourly, moment by moment. God sanctified her through those and made her one of the greatest Saints of modern times, and a Doctor of the Church.
I agree with this. It is the unavoidable suffering that has the power to make you cry out ‘Why me, Lord?’
In my case, my cross is my SSA. It causes many of the faithful to treat me as an outcast, enforces an unwanted celibacy, and prevents me from finding profound physical and emotional fulfillment with a romantic partner. And yet, if the truth were known, I rejoice in this cross. It has had so many good effects in my life. It has taught me empathy for others, as well as continence in my personal life, and has allowed me to look past the physical aspects of the people I meet and focus on their inner selves. I wouldn’t trade this cross for any other, and aspire to please Christ by taking it up and carrying it faithfully and soberly.
Forgiving is part of our cross. Sometimes it is initiated by the words and nothing else. It can be a cross we carry for a long time.
@tmcfrancis , I think you will find that the cross Jesus asks us to take up and follow Him will be the difficult things we encounter as we follow Jesus .
More addictive than crack cocaine. I call it seppuku.
What is SSA?
Conservative Catholic speak for “LGBT”. It stands for “Same-sex attraction”.
Jesus’ teaching in his own words, from his Sermon on the Mount:
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Bearing injustice with patience is a spiritual act of mercy, and will certainly be rewarded.
True, except that I don’t think of my cross as an injustice. It is God’s merciful way of helping me to grow spiritually, so that I have a chance to one day enjoy the Beatific Vision. The injustice is for a gentle, loving and innocent Lamb to be tortured and murdered so that I might be saved from Satan’s clutches.
A “cross” is any kind of hardship / suffering that you have in your life.
Whether it be marriage issues, financial issues, fertility issues, same sex attraction, loneliness, disease, having to care for a disabled child or parent, etc.
It seems to be mostly the LGB parts and those parts are kind of the same thing. It is a bit more accurate too.
In the context of Matthew 10:38 where it is first mentioned, Jesus is preparing to send the disciples out to proclaim the gospel and is warning them that they will undergo persecution for preaching the gospel.
Similarly, in Matthew 16:24, Jesus is correcting Peter. Jesus was beginning to tell them that the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and be killed and raised again. However, Peter rebuked him for speaking in such a way. In his rebuttal Jesus tells Peter that he does not have in mind the things of God but of men, then warns the disciples that they too will be persecuted for the gospel, and that it is better that they should lose their lives than to deny Jesus Christ. These persecutions don’t have to be looked for in the context of the passage, they will come as a response to your acceptance of Jesus and proclamation of the gospel.
Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23 are parallel passages to Matthew 16, saying much the same thing. Luke 9 actually makes clearer that it is those who are ashamed of Christ and his words who are not carrying their cross. Luke 14:26 has much the same application, but this time it is given after Jesus gives the parable of the ruler giving a great banquet, however those who have been invited refuse to come. In this context it appears to be that those who are called to carry their cross, again are called to accept Christ and be willing to follow his teaching.
The common thread here is that we carry our cross by believing in Christ and proclaiming his gospel. We are not be ashamed of this, and as a result, we can expect to be persecuted. We don’t have to look for suffering, those will come naturally from those who hate the message of Christ.
Which particular philosophy is this an expression of? It seems to ignore the fact that we are actual living members - parts - of Christ’s Body, as Saint Paul wrote. Certainly those who proclaim the Gospel will suffer, but what about illness and injury? What about tragic loss of family and loved ones? Natural disasters? Those are suffering but are not directly related to proclaiming the Gospel. A little confused by this line of thought.
The cross is not of necessity one of persecution - although that is certainly part of it. The cross is one of pure suffering, and we must each suffer, as commanded by Christ, if we are to remain parts of His Body. As well, we are called even to lose family and friends for the sake of the Gospel. That is a cross of suffering, is it not?
Rather, there is much, much more to this ‘take up your cross’ command than simply suffering for proclaiming the Gospel.
Or you could actually go to the text to derive the particular reason and context in which Jesus delivered these words instead of render personal opinion not derived from the actual passage. Not saying those other things are irrelevant, but they aren’t necessarily relevant to the passage being discussed. Just that when someone asks what Jesus meant by a specific passage, you might actually want to go to the passage to see what he said, who he said it to, and what was the context of the message. Just saying. In all of the passages above, Jesus was in fact speaking of coming persecution.
Excuse me, but such reasoning is error. It was not taught by Christ. Nowhere does Christ or the scriptures teach that we must pore over the written word attempting to read the mind of the inspire writer. Nowhere.
We are to listen to the Apostles He sent.
That is biblical.
Endless diverging opinions regarding printed words are the reason why the Body of Christ is so tragically fragmented and increasingly seen as irrelevant.