[Jesus addressed them,] “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
My “own cross” is my responsibility to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself.
How have I shown love for God today? How have I loved myself today? Who are my neighbors? How have I loved a neighbor today?
Yet another question. I never focused on the words “own cross.” As a Catholic I have always been taught, “unite your cross to the Cross of Jesus.” If we do that, does our cross cease to become our “own?” Are we sharing it with Christ and our sufferings along with it, or are we sharing in His? If it is our “own” do we dare try and come out from underneath it, or keep enduring with patience?
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer I know what seems to you, endless questions. They are questions I need the answers to. Please never feel rushed to answer them. Just do so as you have time, as your post makes me contemplate many things. God Bless, SR
Hi, SR –
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.'” Matthew 16:24
What I understand from this passage is that there are difficulties we each bear; it could be chronic pain, depression, losing a loved one, being a refugee, experiencing prejudice because of our race, religion, age. The human condition is full of difficulties. I believe Jesus is teaching us to accept the difficulties we have to bear and not lose heart, to put our hope in Jesus and do our best to love God with all our mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourself whatever our circumstances. In addition, I believe Jesus calls us to be accountable for our words, actions, behaviors, and how we relate to others – whatever our difficulties are.
The “unite your cross to the Cross of Jesus” teaching reflects this passage: “‘Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'” Matthew 11:29
When we are yoked with Jesus, we walk with him, and that makes our “crosses” easier to bear.
The cross that Jesus bore is not ours. We cannot bear each other’s crosses, but we can help lighten the load by our compassion, encouragement, kindness, and willingness to walk in solidarity with those who are suffering. We can help lighten the load of injustice by refusing to participate in unjust activities; we can help lighten the load of poverty by feeding the hungry; we can help lighten the load of homelessness by supporting homeless shelters. Matthew 25:34-40 is a helpful guide in this work of discipleship.