How do I let you cover me Lord? Do I fight you and am anxious or embrace my cross? As I read today’s scripture on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross I thought of it as the tall beacon of light in my life. Yet in my studies I had another scripture to contemplate – that of Luke 12:22-32 – do not be anxious.
Sitting in mental prayer and reading these two passages I couldn’t help but reflect on the correlation of the two. Whenever I see the numbers 316 immediately Jesus’ words come into my thoughts; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”
I think about eternal Life – a new life I cannot go to on my own – not to be earned or learned – but to be given. God GAVE us his only Son. It was HIS son who came and taught us the way to his Father. The path to eternal life. That alone was a lot to take in. But then the Luke passage; as I read it once, twice and three times – God pointed out the word YOU. Who was Jesus speaking to? It says YOU. He was directly speaking to me as I pictured him sitting across from my chair. He was speaking to anyone who believes in him – because if you didn’t it’s likely you wouldn’t be reading his words. He GAVE us the instructions to get to eternal life; “He said to [his] disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear.” In fact, he said it twice in verses 22 and 29.
He said, “As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides.” Which also brings me back to the Exaltation of the Cross. Because to not worry means I don’t get to complain, contradict or crucify anyone with my words, action or even thoughts. That’s lifting a cross for sure.
But what was even more clear in this passage was that word YOU. YOU he says, not I. So often my words are I. I did this. I did that. I thought. I acted. I remember. I feel this or that. I, I, I. How many times in a day do I – there I go again… claim myself instead of recognizing either God and/or my neighbor? Every time this self pronouncement occurs, the carried cross is lowered and anxiety moves in, as if stepping away from him.
Perhaps today in being more aware through his words, God will lead me to embrace the discipline of removing the “I” from my day. This could look like not acknowledging myself above others or of putting an undue burden on anyone to get my point across. It could be the absence of hearing pride or vanity in my voice, giving myself praise or choosing the words so another could. It would be to bear my cross in the sacrifice of self offering — for the sick, dying, those in purgatory, difficult situations, etc., etc., So much and many to pray for and offer up. All day, every day.
Jesus called to me in the word YOU eighteen times in this short 10 verse passage. His point of putting me first above all other creation tells me he was serious about getting my attention. HE has the answers. How well are my ears listening?
May my cross be lifted to yours my Lord, casting out all anxieties and fear. Guide my mouth and thoughts to die to self, surrendering my will to yours. Place thy lamp unto my feet so that your cross can be seen in the shadows of my life, always. And may all gory be given to you, all the days of my life..