Choosing The Cross

The heart is instinctively opposed to the difficult choices it faces each day. To choose the more difficult and unpleasant option for the benefit of Christ and one's neighbor is to work against the heart's natural, selfish tendencies. This direction sets the heart in motion on the road to freedom from selfishness, ingratitude, and unwillingness to do what God wants.

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword... Whoever does not take up the cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10.34,38b-39)

Losing Self

The heart's natural tendency
Is to oppose the Lord's command;
The cross is the self's enemy --
The Lord waits, knocking, cross in hand.

The heart can be trained to prefer
The cross over its selfishness;
To face the cross is to suffer
The loss of self and its excess.

Choose what the heart renounces first:
The difficult and unpleasant;
The troublesome and what seems worst --
This leaves it dry and discontent.

Choose what the Lord wants for His sake;
Strive for a heart emptied and free.
A thirst for the Lord will awake;
The cross will be embraced fully.

The heart that loses self succeeds;
And follows where'er the Lord leads.

"If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice...Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; He is mighty in power and sees everything; His eyes are on those who fear him, and He knows every human action. He has not commanded anyone to be wicked, and He has not given anyone permission to sin." (Sirach 15.15,17-20)

Lord, grant me the grace to oppose the selfish tendancies of my heart, that I may embrace the cross with joy in order to serve You and my neighbor. Amen.

(c) Paul Buis, 2009