"Into your hands I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God." – Psalm 31:5
Jesus says, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." He does not say, "Make a cross" or "Look for a cross." Each of us has a cross to carry. There is no need to make one or look for one. Living every moment of our life and fully embracing our humanity inevitably brings us to our crosses.
My brother and I often joke that following Jesus is a synch, if only we can choose the cross – the suffering – we want. Yet, paradoxically the cross is precisely the manner of suffering that we least prefer. Jesus’ call to discipleship remains: “Are we willing to take it up, to accept it as our cross, in the following of him?”
Maybe we struggle to focus or to study; maybe we have some handicapped in some way; maybe we suffer from depression, from poor self-regard, from a serious disease; maybe we experience conflict in our families; maybe we are victims of violence or abuse. We didn't choose any of it, but these things are our crosses. We can ignore them, reject them, refuse them or hate them. But we can also take up these crosses and follow Jesus with them – follow the one who has transformed all crosses into glory. Then perhaps can we confront or even eliminate the conditions of injustice or abuse rooted in certain suffering.
"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!"
inspired by Henri Nouwen