From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”Matthew 16:21-28
Like Jesus before us, everyone on this earth has their own cross to carry. We usually see our own hurdles and issues amplified and recognize those of others much less.
For example, to someone else, my life must look like a fairy tale. I live in a wealthy country, I own a house with a garden, I have a great job, I married last year and one year later I gave birth to a baby boy. Believe me, despite all those great blessings, that I thank the lord for every day, I also have my cross to carry. There is quite a mortgage on the house, the garden grows exponentially and I have not much time to weed it, my job is very demanding and I will have a challenging time balancing it with my new family. There are numerous disputes with my husband on multiple things including the different cultures we are from, and sleepless nights with a baby crying don’t help to get more even tempered.
Further my husband and I live 4 to 5 hours away from our home locations. Due to Covid we do not see our original family and friends as much as we would like to. There is no relative close by that we can entrust our baby with when we have something to do. We need to organize and usually pay very expensively for every hour of child care. My mother died from cancer a few years ago and she will never physically meet my baby boy and he will never be able to sit on the lap of his granny from my side. I could go on but I do not want to. I want to focus on the blessings that God gave me and there are plenty.
Just remind yourself when you compare yourself or envy others that there is always another side of the medal. If someone has more than you – that someone has the cross of more responsibility and more fear, including the fear of losing it, not managing it well or not being worthy of it all.
Jesus did not complain or defend himself when they burdened him unjustly with the cross. He took it and went on with it until his cruel death, which after 3 days, turned out to be his greatest triumph by resurrecting himself.
I think we should change the things we can – within the allowed boundaries. However, we also need to accept the hurdles and hardship that God entrusted us with. If there is hardship, I think God allows it to teach us a lesson and make us better. I believe firmly that accepting and carrying your cross is the entry key to a better, more satisfied life and as well to heaven. I also still have to work on that.
Jesus also encourages us to use our cross to deny ourselves, to smash our ego. All life on earth will one day perish, whereas God gave us our soul to live forever. God promises that every dishonor on earth is turned into glory in heaven. Thus we should not be ashamed to follow him and ignore earthly pride and honor.
A great role model for me is a woman I once met. She is a devoted Christian, married more than 40 years ago and has 3 children. After her marriage, her husband became an alcoholic and mentally ill. Although he is not well most of the time and there is no hope of him improving, she firmly stands by him despite him being not all too charming to her. She herself suffers from some illnesses. Still, she refuses to lean back and does everything in her power to support her family without much help from his side. As he could and can not work much, she lives very poorly. Despite that, she is giving as much as she can. I think in these circumstances, many, including myself, would think of running far away. However, she buried her ego, took up her cross and carries it. Most of the time she is focusing on the positives and even takes it with humor. What a great role model and example!
Which cross do you have to carry? Any advice or help you would appreciate?
Valtorta Chapter notice – the full speech of Jesus about carrying your cross can be reviewed in
– English: The third year of the public life, chapter 345 “Jesus Predicts His Passion for the First Time. Peter Is Reproached.”
– Italian (original language): chapter 346 “Primo annuncia della Passione e il rimprovero a Simon Pietro”
– German: chapter 391 “Jesus sagt zum ersten Mal seine Leiden voraus. Petrus wird getadelt”