THE DISCIPLINE OF THE CROSS GIVES LIFE
Today, the Church celebrates an outstanding follower of Jesus and a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Clare. She was from a noble and wealthy family just like St. Francis but as soon as she heard his preaching, she got converted, and that gave her a path to life. “If you wish to follow me, go sell everything and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow me-Matt. 19:21-24. “ Later on, some ladies joined her including her sister Agnes, they became the brides of Christ of St. Damian Church now popularly known as the Poor Clares. They lived a life of prayer, austerity, poverty, and seclusion from the world according given to them as a second order. Many were moved by the joyful life they were living despite the austerity and poverty they had embraced. Through prayer, despite her illness, she was able to ward off the attacks from those who wanted to hurt the Poor Clares.
Christ’s demand is unequivocal for her and St. Francis and it is still the same even to this day. If we wish to follow Jesus we must take up our cross. This requires us to accept with patience our trials, aches and pains that are part of life, to “offer it up to God,” as the Sister Clare did. To accept to follow Jesus is to embrace eternal life despite what life brings, even in the face of doubts and fears. This is embracing and dedicating ourselves to the will of God. More importantly, when we embrace the will of God, we must let off our own will, our ego, and self-centeredness – even unto death. We must die to ourselves. This can be quite painful and difficult to accomplish without God’s grace. Undoubtedly, this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he proclaimed “I am crucified with Christ! It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20). Let us die to ourselves and live in Christ.
Fr Joseph Osho