Sure, we all know that Jesus died on the cross for our salvation. But the cross is more than a torture instrument that took the life of the Son of God.

Jesus told us that, if we want eternal life, we must carry our cross and follow him. If we want a life of fulfillment and peace in this world, we must also carry our cross and follow Christ.

The cross for each of us differs, but for each of us, the cross is the one thing or many things that causes difficulty or stress or pain. The cross is what we must offer to Christ while asking him to show us the way to victory through our embracing of and carrying of this cross.

The Blessed Mother's initial acceptance of God's will at the Annunciation was reflected in her words, "I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."

These must be our words as well. "I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."

At the wedding feast of Cana, Our Lady said to the servants, "Do what ever he tells you." These are words of surrender to God. These are words we must make our own. These are words which help us to carry the cross. What must we do? "Whatever he tells you."

Study the crucifix of San Damiano to the right, you will notice many figures around the figure of Jesus. These are laypeople who have figured the secret out, namely that Jesus was triumphant over death. We become triumphant over death, when we carry the cross willingly, embrace what it is going to show us, and die to ourselves on it.

Jesus is the model for penitents, even though he needed no conversion for he is God. But we learn from him and from his surrender to the will of his Father.

What crosses are you carrying in your life? Can you surrender your control over them, your desire to fix them, to the Lord? Can you become like a little child in the arms of the heavenly  Father, totally trusting despite the anguish you are feeling? This is the key to peace and surrender. We can try to improve our situation, but we need to accept it as it is and find Jesus in it, find him in the crosses of our lives. And in finding him, will find the peace and the grace he offers to help us carry these crosses with faith and dignity. Lord Jesus, help us. Amen.

THE CROSS

Sure, we all know that Jesus died on the cross for our salvation. But the cross is more than a torture instrument that took the life of the Son of God.

Jesus told us that, if we want eternal life, we must carry our cross and follow him. If we want a life of fulfillment and peace in this world, we must also carry our cross and follow Christ.

The cross for each of us differs, but for each of us, the cross is the one thing or many things that causes difficulty or stress or pain. The cross is what we must offer to Christ while asking him to show us the way to victory through our embracing of and carrying of this cross.

The Blessed Mother's initial acceptance of God's will at the Annunciation was reflected in her words, "I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."

Confraternity of Penitents   www.penitents.org

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