There is something in the makeup of the human person that seems to seek out comfort and consolation. If there are two ways of achieving exactly the same end and one is easier or more comfortable than the other then there is little doubt as to the choice most people will make. When it comes to the Gospel, however, we can know that very few of the choices that we will face will be easy or comfortable. The nature of the Christian life of discipleship is that there will be many opportunities to deny the flesh and take up the call of holiness.

Jesus leaves His disciples without doubts in this regard. He clearly presents to them a life of discipleship as being a life of the cross. This image of taking up the cross every day and following Jesus is one that must have taken on new and vital meaning for the disciples after the death of Jesus on the cross! What a powerful inspiration remembering these words of Jesus would have been to them after the resurrection and in the midst of their own struggles and trials in the mission.

The call to discipleship today only takes on its proper meaning in relation to the act of taking up our crosses, that is embracing and persevering through all the trials and struggles of our lives, and imitating the single-mindedness of Jesus as He went about the mission His Father had given Him. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus to the degree that we take up the Father’s will for our lives in an uncompromising and faithful way. Whatever God calls us to do and by whatever path He leads us we must be willing to embrace the good times with the difficult ones and to remain joyful throughout.

This is possible only if we place our lives into the hands of God and beg Him for sufficient grace to remain faithful to Him. Only by the grace of God will we be able to persevere through all that the devil will put in our paths and be victorious in the end. Jesus knows this and thus promises the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him. If we will renounce the world in order to embrace the life of the Kingdom of God, it is the Holy Spirit who will make all of this possible. Without the Holy Spirit we will fail, with Him everything becomes possible!

What is my attitude to the trials and struggles I face in my life? Have I truly embraced the cross to follow in the footsteps of Jesus?

Holy Spirit, empower me to be the faithful disciple I desire to be. Help me to let go of all my worldly attachments so that I can embrace in the fullest manner possible everything that life under the Lordship of Jesus offers to me.