Day 11/50 of Eastertide (Holy Fifty Days) – The very cross you hate most is the one you must carry – Fr. Matthew the Poor

The shame that the cross symbolized, and which Christ bore as he departed the world, was the inevitable cost of the stand he had made. As a consequence the shame of crucifixion, to die in public, stripped of every dignity, with the addition of mockery and revenge through scourgings, beatings and being spat on, has become the symbol of the treatment that can be expected by anyone who has denied the world and sought only faithfulness to Christ.

Christ made this a general rule to be the primary consideration of anyone who intends leaving the world and follow Him: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:27). “Follow me” (Mk 10:21). “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mk 8:34) “And he said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).

It is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote: “Therefore let us go forth to him outside… and bear the abuse he endured” (Heb 13:13). Christ’s shame was the supreme example of scorn and humiliation. Each person will have his own particular cross. This means that every person will have his own shame that the world will fashion for him out of the very type of humiliation he hates the most.

Those who desire to follow the Lord do not shirk their cross but increase it and embellish it with other kinds of deprivations, mortifications of the flesh and with fasting, which submits the ego: “I afflicted myself with fasting” (Ps 35:13). We know from the Apostle’s words, from the lives of the saints, and from experience that inasmuch as a man experiences humiliation and dies both unintentionally and intentionally together, he will experience eternal life deep within him and live it day by day.

[Fr Matta El-Meskeen, Christ is Risen Truly He has Risen]

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