|Wedding Day March 8th, 2014|
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” (Luke 9:23-25)
The richness of letting go and an experience of fruitful surrender is found in our ability to recognize our inner poverty. The discomfort with suffering and our human reaction to "fix things" inhibits the ability for us to see God's unwavering providence, especially amidst the difficult moments of our lives. Today's Gospel reminds us to deny ourselves and to accept our Cross. Ultimately, we are reminded to accept suffering. Nobody likes to suffer. Our discomfort with the suffering causes us to close our eyes at the foot of the Cross. To imagine only a resurrected Lord. To solely proclaim Easter joy, and not reflect on the sacrifice and pain that paved way for our eternal joy blinds us from the very reason for our faith.
As Christians we must embrace the Cross of Christ, and thus we can better encounter our own with Divine help. We are much too weak and limited to endure what comes alone. Our Lord does not invite us to deny ourselves so that we lose ourself in a harmful way, but so that we recover and become our most authentic self in the way that God intended. Lent is a fitting time to ask ourselves some important questions.....Do we become obsessed with the joy of Jesus, with the love, with the compassion, with his unconditional care, so much so that may we forget the suffering; forget His message to us in these times? The joy of the Gospel is most evident in the Cross, this choice of love to provide such joy and freedom for us. Jesus chose the Cross so we could make sense of the crosses in our lives. To be 'sons in the Son' is to be bound to the Lord, to belong to Him, and thus to face the Cross within our own lives. Because of the love, compassion, and unconditional love and mercy of our Lord, we do not face our cross alone.
Pope Francis often reminds us of the difficulty in following Jesus closely, because eventually, and unavoidably we encounter struggle. Granted these challenges and Crosses in life are presented to all of us. It is part of the human condition to suffer. Many look upon this truth and see no reason for following such a God. No purpose for embracing Him and His Cross if we are 'doomed' to have our own. This thinking leads to imprisonment and further disillusion in regards to what it means to be free. Faith shows to us that we are free because we have first been created and found by a God who loves us despite of ourselves and our brokenness. He meets us within our struggles and teaches us the way to be free.
Belief in our Lord and trust in His mercy and love leads us to trust that He too bears our Crosses with us. It is not a means for us to escape the reality of our human condition, but to live our condition well and to dwell within this world with great purpose, with hope, and with an understanding of our suffering. To set our gaze upon the Divine reveals to us the reason and purpose for our humanity. Our Lenten journey especially welcomes our sacrifice and acceptance of going without. We choose to suffer, in a very minute way so that we may draw closer to Christ and further from worldly allurements. Let us strive to deny ourselves daily as to affirm our walk with Christ. (CC)