“The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I learned a whole lot about “taking up my cross daily” during a two-week period around New Year’s when a slow-moving stomach bug ripped its way through our house, taking down, in order, our toddler, me, our pre-schooler and my wife. (Our newborn was spared as of this writing.) Whether it was holding the sickness bucket in front of the kiddos or watching “Sesame Street” at midnight, my time wasn’t my own, my body wasn’t my own, my life wasn’t my own. All this led my wife to observe that parenting is definitely making us better people – despite some personal lapses into impatience and frustration. Raising little ones is a nonstop exercise in self-giving love, which Christ crucified modeled for us par excellence. I think this is one of the great opportunities of Lent: It’s a chance to clear out some of the spiritual cobwebs and to recommit to loving God and each other without holding anything back.
On this feast of the English Jesuit martyr Blessed Roger Filcock, we pray for the strength to live our faith with similar boldness and devotion.
We offer the same words of prayer Blessed Roger spoke after witnessing the execution of a fellow priest and ask for his intercession: “Pray for me to our Lord, whose presence you now enjoy, that I too may faithfully run my course.”
Martyrdom is unlikely for most all of us today, but we continue to ask for the grace to carry out God’s will in all we do and say, even when it is most difficult.
We pray this through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
—Mike Jordan LaskeyPlease share the Good Word with your friends!