In the Gospels, Jesus commands man to deny himself and take up his cross. What does it mean to take up our own cross in our daily lives?
When we think about what our crosses are, we may assume that it could be some sort of physical or emotional burden that has been placed upon us. While these can add stress to our lives, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that Jesus has not given us a burden that is too heavy or impossible to bear (CCC 1615).
Looking back on the time when Jesus was crucified, the physical cross had no other meaning than death. What we today consider the cross to stand for was not the same to the people of Jesus’ lifetime. Those who were sentenced to death by crucifixion had to literally carry their own cross, the method of their execution, to their place of death. Thinking of taking up our cross in this connotation, it shows us that we need to be willing and ready to die for Jesus Christ.
When we take up our cross daily, we show that we are fully committed to Jesus and we are his disciples (CCC 2427). There will be many times where we will stumble, due to our own actions or those of others leading us down a pathway of sin, but “Christ gives us strength to rise again after we have fallen, to forgive one another, and to bear one another’s burdens” (CCC 1642).
Taking up our cross means we suffer with Christ, and in our suffering we become co-heirs with Christ to the Kingdom of Heaven (CCC 1460). We are assured that taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.
Take up your cross and follow Christ, nor think till death to lay it down; for those who humbly bear the cross one day will wear the glorious crown.BACK TO LIST