21 PRACTICAL WAYS OF EMBRACING THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST

21 Practical Ways of embracing the Cross of Jesus Christ

Today as we commemorate and venerate the cross of Jesus Christ on which our redemption is rooted, we must realize that the cross of Jesus Christ is without meaning unless we practice it in our daily living. Here I suggest 21 practical ways in which you and I can faithfully live a gospel crucified life which makes us true witness of Jesus Christ.

First of all we must recall that it was on the cross at Calvary that Jesus defeated the devil. We too as believers and followers of Jesus can defeat the workings of the devil in our lives if only we can embrace and crucify ourselves on the cross of Jesus. When I say, embracing and crucifying ourselves on the cross of Jesus, I don’t mean that we look for some pieces of timber and make a wooden cross out of it: then look for a hammer and nails, then lay ourselves on it and then ask any strong hearted person to hammer the nails in our palms and feet. NO!!!! That is not what it means. Embracing and crucifying oneself on the cross of Jesus means doing the following;

  1. Lose sight of yourself. Tell Jesus to take over. Realize that you have no power over sustaining your life. Realize that everything depends on God—and that by yourself you can do nothing.
  2. Recognize and accept your powerlessness and that you cannot change everything.
  3. Practice detachment. Detach yourself from excessive love for material possessions. Have a disciplined way of self sacrifice.
  4. Learn how to speak and converse with God personally and directly in your own language.
  5. Load off all your inner burdens such as worries and complaints. These are the ones that fail us to trust in God and place Him first in our lives. Stop complaining over everything.
  6. See a ‘hand’ of God in everything around yougood or bad; and surrender everything back to Him. All your joys and sorrows must be lived through Him, with Him and in Him.
  7. Be patient with yourself and with everything.
  8. Avoid focusing much on your sinfulness and personal weakness. The closer we get to God, the more we discover how unworthy we are. Therefore, whenever the feeling of guilty comes into your mind, recall the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians that “It is when I am weak that I am strong in the lord”. 2 Corinthians 12:10.
  9. Allow yourself to be a fool. Accept to be misunderstood and rejected by society. Let them be wise and you be a fool. In their eyes you will be a stupid fool but your foolishness will be your strength and victory. This has worked out for me perfectly. I always appear a fool—and not just any fool but a stupid one. But through my foolishness and stupidity, I can count on the marvelous work God has done through me and also the work I have so far done for God in the few years I have just lived on earth is amazing. Every morning when I wake up I tell Jesus that; here I am your stupid fool, I have woken up, use me today the way you wish. And whatever he does through me is amazing. God normally uses the foolish of the society to do His amazing work. If society, your relatives etc call you a fool on account of Jesus, then rejoice; it’s a sign that you are on the right path. Talk less, listen more. Let society brand you names, let society brand you a fool, let society call you a failure but always stand firm in Christ.
  10. Endure during moments of trials and sufferings.
  11. Accept to lose so as to gain in Christ. Many at times, being faithful followers and true witnesses of Jesus Christ requires us to do away with what used to be dear to us. Or even losing what we used to consider essential for us. It could be a profit making business which you have to lose in order to follow Christ closely; it could be a relationship and friendship with the person whom you apparently love most; It could be a job, it could be an office or place of work or department; it could be a position of leadership that you have to let go in order to be faithful follower of Christ. If a moment comes that you are losing all that which used to be dear to you, don’t fight negatively, but rather seek for divine direction and ask yourself that; what is God telling me here. Then let things go. Allow yourself to lose so as to gain in Christ.
  12. Learn how to live with uncertainties. Learn to be unsure. Learn to be comfortable with being uncertain and unsure of tomorrow. Most of us we live in the future instead of the present. All our minds are thinking of how it will be tomorrow, how will my future be etc… We strive to go ahead of God in terms of planning. The truth is; none of us can know exactly how the future will be. Even if you strain yourself, you will never come up with a decisive solution on how your future will be. Live the present an leave the future to God. Accept to be uncertain. Even learn to be unsure of yourself. A moment you get used to be sure of yourself, then that is the moment you begin to depart away from God. In whatever situation you are going through; let God drive you along the path and direction that He Himself wishes. At the end of it all, you will emerge out victorious. It doesn’t matter when; you can have your total breakthrough even after so many years of serious trials.
  13. Accept to be heart-broken in order to be mended. I one time bought for myself a good quality mult-coloured-cotton-kitenge piece of cloth. I wanted to make a shirt out of it. I took it to the tailor to sew a shirt out of it. After he had measured my size, he got hold of his pair of scissors in his hands, and with it; he cut and tore my nice kitenge cloth into different smaller pieces. I felt bad. It was as if he was tearing my heart apart. It was after tearing it into pieces that he started mending it and sewing it in a very nice design and fashion. Today, whenever I put it on I look elegantly smart. The cloth’s initial tearing gave birth to a nice design and fashion. Our human nature is like that. We need to be torn apart in order to be mended to whole. It’s after being torn apart or heartbroken that you grow to a complete maturity and wholeness. Whenever you feel that you are heart-broken; don’t despair. But rather take it in stride. At the end of it all you will emerge out stronger than before.
  14. Hold onto the hope in the Lord. Always be hopeful. Live with hope in every situation. Those who hope in the lord always get their strength and ‘fly without wings’. They always have their faith renewed daily.
  15. Live a life of wonder. Look and wonder backwards in your life and see where and how far God has brought you up to where you are today. It is by His grace which He gives you freely that you are still alive. He who brought you from where you were will still take care of you until you sail through.
  16. Avoid sin and falling into temptations. It’s when we are facing difficult situations that the devil takes advantage of us to lure us into evil. During such moments, the devil offers us attractive temptations in order to finish us completely. Remain with the spirit of discernment to foresee the snares of the devil—and avoid them as much as possible.
  17. Be a struggling sinner who falls and rises. Our spiritual life is a daily struggle of falling and rising. Some moments we feel high and other moments we feel low. There is no way we can live a constant spiritual life. Even if you are holier than the holy; one day you will fall—but when you fall, don’t remain there but rather rise up and move on. Jesus Christ himself fell three times when he was carrying his cross, but every time he fell, he could rise up and move on. We too as his followers are destined to falling but we need to always pray for the strength and courage to rise whenever we fall.
  18. Be ready for surprises both positives and negatives. We serve a God of surprises. He can surprise you with anything at any moment. So always be ready for any surprises and put on strong ‘shock absorbers’, because some surprises that might come your way are shocking.
  19. Allow yourself to be naked before God because He knows you in and out. Never think that you can hide away from God. He knows you through and through. And be an agent of conversion. And finally,
  20. Walk and walk your spiritual journey without getting tired even when the going is tough. Continue trekking, the prize awaits you there.
  21. Pray the Way of the Cross Prayer regularly and do regular fasting. This will purify your soul; give you spiritual, emotional and psychological healing and sometimes physical healing as well—not forgetting giving you a tremendous breakthrough in many circles of your life.

I wish you a blessed 2021 Easter Tridium 

Yours in Christ 

Fr. Stephen Kakande C.S.Sp

 

 



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