“If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and come after me.” Our Lord’s command seems hard and heavy, that anyone who wants to follow Him must renounce himself. But no command is hard and heavy when it comes from one who helps to carry it out. That other saying of His is true: “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” Whatever is hard in His commands is made easy by love.
We know what great things love can accomplish, even though it is often base and sensual. We know what hardships people have endured, what intolerable indignities they have borne to attain the object of their love. What we love indicates the sort of people we are, and therefore making a decision about this should be our one concern in choosing a way of life. Why be surprised if people who set their hearts on Christ and want to follow Him renounce themselves out of love? If we lose ourselves through self-love we must surely find ourselves through self-renunciation.
Who would not wish to follow Christ to supreme happiness, perfect peace, and lasting security? We shall do well to follow Him there, but we need to know the way. The Lord Jesus had not yet risen from the dead when He gave this invitation. His passion was still before Him; He had still to endure the cross, to face outrages, reproaches, scourging; to be pierced by thorns, wounded, insulted, taunted and put to death. The road seems rough, you draw back, you do not want to follow Christ. Follow Him just the same. The road we made for ourselves is rough, but Christ has leveled it by passing over it Himself.
St. Augustine of Hippo
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