Taking up the cross. Carrying your own cross


What does this mean to the avearge person? How can I carry my own cross everday? I do not understand why we need to suffer for Christ daily. What does it mean to suffer for Chirst? Self-mortification - is this the answer?

Can someone please help me to understand these ideas?


There are several meanings the one I take is love requires suffering. Perhaps someone would like our help and we are tired, perhaps we need to speak about some pro life isue and we risked being mocked, pehaps we are called to love the person we find most irritaing.

I think this is what is meant by cross, but it is a joy to be able to love our neighbour even if there are crosses or suffering.

Mortification can become a bad thing, in all the people I've seen use it it has created a huge sense of pride.


I get plenty of suffering on a daily basis, don't you? Chronic pain, emotional pain, disappointments, losses ... can become redemptive if we accept them for love of Christ and unite them to His sufferings.


A priest once said that our whole life is our cross. I think it is a very good way to answer your question.

We unavoidably encounter different challenges, difficulties, and trials in life. When we say to pick up our cross, basically is to deal with anything in life with God’s grace and live our lives to the fullest, to honor God. We give thanks to God no matter what situation we are in – always believe, always hope, always be patient, always love, always give thanks. I think that is the meaning of pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Hope this makes sense.


In order to understand what Christ meant for you to carry your own cross, you must first understand how Christ carried His cross for you. Pray the Rosary. The Blessed Mother will help you understand just how much Christ had suffered for you, from the first moment of His conception to His crucifixion, even up till the present moment. Only when you come to know His love and sacrifice for you will you be able to reciprocate and imitate His way of life.

Christ’s demand is an invitation to respond to His love. you are not doing anything in order to earn your salvation. You are doing it because Christ, who loved you first, is calling you to love Him back.

There is nothing more exhilirating than responding to Christ’s love in our everyday life. It is not a drudge. It is not a burden. It is the call of a loving God. It will change your life and transform you to the very likeness of Christ.

Don’t delay. Start with praying the Rosary. The Blessed Mother will tell you exactly what to do.


I started this thread in response to what I am reading in the Imitation of Christ. It is a life changing book. I think I understand what it is to suffer for Christ a little better now.

I can see how every single person on earth suffers daily in some way. How is it possible for someone to not suffer for Christ daily - since by default we do?


We all suffer - we certainly don’t all suffer for Christ though! Suffering for Christ is a conscious thing, we can’t do it unknowingly, so people who don’t know Him don’t suffer for Him, for one.

People who complain unduly about their sufferings, or who unduly avoid what causes them suffering, (sometimes I used to go to great lengths to avoid unpleasant obligations, for example) are also not fulfilling their obligation to take up their crosses and suffer for His sake.


Please excuse me for throwing a monkey wrench into this thread. If I'm out of line, please tell me, and I'll not continue to interupt.

This has always confused me, as well. The striking part of this quote is that Jesus says this well before His own crucifixion. I don't doubt that crucifixions were somewhat common in those days. There is much evidence that it was. And Jesus and His disciples were probably exposed to these throughout their lives. Therefore I am not comvinced that to understand this verse we need to hear it in light of what we know about Christ's crucifixion. [But I do believe that he was speaking prophetically.]

With the obvious exception of Jesus, probably the majority of victims of crucifixion were criminals. They were seen with some regularity carrying thier crosses to their deaths.

We all have burdens such as health issues, family problems, economic problems, etc., that are thrust upon us, but I don't think carrying our cross symbolizes these. Those being crucified were carrying the weight and burden of their own crimes and their own sins, those things that they caused in their own lives. I suspect that carrying ones cross has to do more with enduring the burdens and obstacles we have placed in our own way through sin, poor decisions, the consequences of our own actions.

I still do not fully understand this verse, but I feel as if there is a lot more to it than just that Jesus suffered on His way to be crucified, and we should as well, because He said this to his disciples early, before His own crucifixion. But I believe we need to hear this quote putting ourselves in the time and place of those to whom He spoke it.


It’s an easy answer but not so easy to complete perfectly.

Carrying your cross is doing the will of God entirely with patience in trials and suffering, and prayerfulness.

Try your very best not to sin and to do God’s will for you. That’s your cross. That’s it! Sound easy? :wink:

Of course, you can always take a bigger cross than the one the Lord desired for you to take. God only gives you to take a cross that he knows you can handle, but you can choose to take a bigger one that you cannot easily handle.

If your cross seems hard, ask Simon of Cyrene, a.k.a. others for help. God desires us to be servants to others, but to be humble enough to admit we need others to serve us at times, also.


Yes, but a lot of the ‘burdens’ you speak of (family problems, economic problems and the like) also have a greater or lesser self-inflicted component.

I believe it takes two to make a poor relationship, usually, and so if I’m on the outs with my family that’s often at least partly a self-inflicted burden.

Likewise many economic problems are caused by imprudence (overspending, overconsumption and unwisely taking on too heavy a debt) on the part of the sufferer.

Even some health issues - my mother has adult-onset diabetes caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. Thanks be to God it is now under control, but in a sense that was self-inflicted too. How many of us eat poorly, fail to exercise sufficiently, overdo the alcohol or caffeine or smoke cigarettes, and then find ourselves not-so-mysteriously in poor health?


Don’t forget that there have also been many saints who reached high levels of holiness and then continued to suffer greatly, not because of their own sins but in reparation for the sins of others.


I strongly believe in taking up one’s cross. I would just caution one to pause and reflect on whether some bit of suffering is one’s cross in the first place.

Techniques of mortification have their place, as they train you to detach yourself from worldly goods. But there’s no sense in, say, bashing your head into a wall because you want to carry your cross via head injury. Clearly that just wasn’t your cross.


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