St. Theophan the Recluse: Follow Him Bearing Your Cross

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Sunday, April 7 (March 25), 2024
Sunday of the Cross (Third Sunday of Lent)
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin
Heb. 4:14-5:6; Mk. 8:34-9:1                                

Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” [Mk. 8:34].  The Lord is carrying His cross. No one can possibly follow Him without a cross of his own; neither can you.

So, what is this cross?  All kinds of troubles, hardships and afflictions, pressing us down both outside and inside on our way of faithful living by Lord’s Commandments, by the spirit of His word.  Such a cross is inseparable from a Christian: where is the one, there is also the other, and vice versa. 

Life of comfort and pleasures is unfit for a true Christian.  His goal is to cleanse and reform himself, he is like a patient who needs harsh medical treatment, ─ and how can he avoid pain?   Having been taken captive by a strong enemy, he srives to break out ─ and how can he escape fighting and wounds?  He needs to defy the existing order of things around him ─ and how can he endure it without suffering and distress?

Rejoice, therefore, when you feel your cross pressing you down: this is a sure sign that you are indeed following the Lord on the track to salvation, on the track to heavens.  Hang in there, for a little more: the finish line is at hand, and behold your prize.

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