Before you begin, pause for a moment. Take several deep breaths and allow yourself to grow still. Be aware of God's loving presence within you.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."
How can I give up one more thing when so much has already been taken from me? How can I bear the weight of one more cross? Jesus' words are not meant to overwhelm people with more hardship-they are meant to be freeing. They challenge the listener to see hardship, and indeed our whole life, in light of the Good News. It is God, not hardship, that defines our lives. To take up one's cross is to follow Jesus both in places of suffering and death and in places of joy and new life.
Where am I on my journey of following Jesus?
How do I let my circumstances define me? How does God define me?
(Speak to God, using this prayer or a prayer of your own.)
Jesus, help me follow you to the ends of the earth. May I face all my joys and sorrows with the certain knowledge that you are at the center of my being.