fr_basil (fr_basil) wrote,


From Today’s Gospel:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”
In other words, Jesus says: “If any of you really want to follow Me, that is, be My disciple, you must drop your reliance on yourself, your fallen minds, your opinions, your reasoning, and take up your cross and follow Me.” Of course they had no idea what He meant by “take up your cross,” but they did understand that he meant the total surrender of themselves to Him.  St. Augustine of Hippo says this:
“The Lord appears to be hard and grievous when He demands that ‘whosoever will come after Him, must deny himself.’ But what He commands is not really hard or grievous, because He helps us, so that what He commands may actually be done. For it is true what is said concerning Him in the Psalm, ‘Because of the words of Thy lips I have kept the ways that are hard’ (Psalm 16 [17]:4 LXX). And it is also true what He Himself said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). For whatever is hard in what is demanded of us, love makes easy. We know what kind of great things love can do. Very often this love is even abominable and impure; but think about what great hardships men have suffered, what indignities and intolerable things have they endured, to attain to the object of their love? Whether it be a lover of money who is called covetous; or a lover of honour, who is called ambitious; or a lover of beautiful women, who is called sensual. Who can enumerate all the kinds of loves? Yet consider what labour all lovers undergo, and are not even conscious of their labours. The only time they notice the labour, is when they are prevented from doing it!  Since, then, the majority of men are what they love, and want no other cares or constraints in their lives interfering with that which they have chosen to love; why do you wonder, if he who loves Christ, and who wishes to follow Christ, for the love of Him, denies himself? For if by loving himself man is lost, surely by denying himself he is found.” St. Theophylact likewise observes: “He who follows behind Jesus is not he who only confesses Him to be the Son of God, but rather it is he who also undergoes all tribulations and endures them.”
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