If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?[1]

It is hard to hear these words. Taking up one’s cross (and indeed sometimes several crosses) can be very hard to bear. For example, experiencing seeing the suffering of a loved one, or maybe an unexpected job loss, or whatever – the cross can seem to be almost unbearable. I think it is, if we do not turn to our Blessed Lord in daily prayer and in the reception of the Sacraments. The step by step journey then can have some relief, some hope and in the assurance that we are embracing our cross(s) just as Jesus embraced His one.

We can sometimes take up a cross on behalf of another, or at least share it with them. Perhaps by having a Mass said for them, or praying with them or doing something else practical that would help to alleviate the pain of their particular cross.

It is not easy to take up our cross. Who wants to suffer? But there is the irony that the cross becomes the stairway to heaven. Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection has paved the way; made it possible for us to go through the portal of heaven.

So be encouraged and make use of your cross(es), knowing that Jesus Himself will carry it (or them) with you.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP


[1] Mt. 16:24-26