“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
The month of September has been extremely busy for me. There was one day in particular a couple of weeks ago when I was feeling completely beaten down. I mentioned this to a friend. His response was very simple, “Well Father, no one ever promised it would be easy, did they?” While that may seem like an unsympathetic response, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Yes, it had been a difficult day and I needed to vent. I also needed the reminder that the Christian life is about taking up one’s cross daily.
Today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is a day to remember the salvation which has been won by Christ for us in the strangest and most seemingly foolish ways possible.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25)
In our last year at Mundelein Seminary, my class was told by Fr. Peter Damian Akpunono that he could only give us one certainty in the priesthood. He could not tell us when or how, but that at some point in our priesthood we would be required to carry a heavy cross. His words have echoed true to me many times throughout my time as a priest. But carrying the cross is not limited to priests. It is a reality for all Christians. May we always remember to help one another to bear the Cross of Christ.