10: Take up your cross
Daily meditation: “Take up your cross”. Today we commemorate St. Lucian the Martyr.
When we were baptized, we each received a cross around our necks. This wasn’t simply a beautiful ornament but an outward sign of an inner calling. The calling to remain loyal to Christ no matter what may happen in our life. Loyal in the sense that one believes all things come from God, whether good or bad, and that one trusts in the Providence of God, that he is in control, even in the most desperate and difficult times. This is the essence of faith. And yes, our faith may waver at times when we try to make sense of how or why bad things happen. But we can’t allow such wavering to lead to doubt of God’s love or even his presence. The most powerful example of this is when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaak. He didn’t understand why and it was the most painful and difficult thing he had ever faced. Yet his love for God was so great that he accepted God’s plan, God’s will, God’s wisdom above his own, firmly believing that there was a reason for it and that, whether in this life or the next, all will be revealed, all will be restored, and all will be exceedingly good. St. Paul speaks on this in his First Letter to the Corinthians 13:12, he writes: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
St. Nikolai Verimilovitch offers the following explanation on the words, “take up your cross,” writing: “What does it mean to take up your cross? I means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God’s will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God’s help is at hand, as the apostles did.”
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