TAKE UP YOUR CROSS
Reflections for the 40 days of Lent
"Only when we have become completely oblivious of self are we ready to bear the cross for Jesus' sake. If in the end we know only Him, if we have ceased to notice the pain of our own cross, we are indeed looking only unto Him. If Jesus had not so graciously prepared us for this word, we should have found it unbearable."
"To endure the cross is not a tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ. When it comes, it is not an accident, but a necessity… the suffering which is an essential part of the specifically Christian life."
"It is not suffering per se but suffering-and-rejection, and not rejection for any cause of conviction of our own, but rejection for the sake of Christ. If our Christianity has ceased to be serious about discipleship, if we have watered down the gospel into emotional uplift which makes no costly demands and which fails to distinguish between natural and Christian existence, then we cannot help regarding the cross as an ordinary everyday calamity… We have then forgotten that the cross means rejection and shame as well as suffering."
"Only a man thus totally committed in discipleship can experience the meaning of the cross. The cross is there, right from he beginning, he has only got to pick it up there is no need for him to go out and look for a cross for himself… Every Christian has his own cross waiting for him, a cross destined and appointed by God. Each must endure his allotted share of suffering and rejection."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship