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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Take Up Your Cross

Feb 18, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: Take Up Your Cross

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Deuteronomy 30:15–20;
Psalm 1:1–2, 3–4, 6;
Luke 9:22–25

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
—Luke 9:23


This is one of the three foundational texts of Francis’s rule of life. When Bernard of Quintavalle told Francis he wanted to join his life of poverty, they spoke to the parish priest and, under his guidance, opened the Scriptures three times, a common practice in medieval times. The three passages they read that day eventually became part of Francis’s Rule:

The Rule and life of the friars is to live in obedience, in chastity and without property, following the teaching and the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ who says, If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me (Matthew 19:21); and, If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). Elsewhere he says, If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26). And everyone who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting (Matthew 19:29).

These passages express the need to put Christ at the center of all we think, say, and do. If our own goals, possessions, and even families and friends distract us from the Lord’s call, then we are not truly choosing life. In an ideal world, all these things should bring us closer to God—and we should bring them closer to God.


Prayer

We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ,
here and in all your churches
in the whole world,
and we bless you,
because by your holy cross
you have redeemed the world.
Amen.


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Comments

Submitted by Erik Mansager (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 07:53 AM

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Jesus's hyperbole challenges us to LOVE those we would hate, even as we feel the call to follow. To love deeply is to grow beyond ourselves and into a fuller version of ourselves. My clients who pose, "God before family" have a mischievous streak intended to put the family below the client. It is by loving fully, both self and other - whom we at times revile in our weakness - that we learn the lesson Francis shows - God wills our wellbeing. Be well! Love fully!

Submitted by Dr Eileen Quin… (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 09:33 AM

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We share in the suffering of Christ by allowing all to reach their full potential, knowing the gifts God has given them and allowing them to flourish with an intentional goodness in bringing the love of all to others. In belonging to each other we bring the love of God to all. We intentionally Go To Good Together. When we do this we need to allow for all weaknesses and allow others to rejoin when repentance occurs.

Submitted by Rich Fanning (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 11:47 AM

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Thanks for having my favorite Saint speak to us today

Submitted by Terence Lover (not verified) on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 12:28 PM

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What a thought-provoking reflection! While attempting to live a Christ-centered life, contemplation and letting go can intersect with the practicalities of life. It seems that each person must discover the literal and practical aspects of responding to Christ's call. What an opportunity for conversion and growth! Peace

Submitted by Mulongo Jane F… (not verified) on Fri, 02/19/2021 - 03:44 AM

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This prayer in said by Poor Clare sisters of Myanga Monastery in Bungoma Diocese, Kenya. It always sounded sweet and short, I am glad to get its full text. I feel invited to revisit my, "all these things" and see if they have brought me closer to God or some have led me away. And if I have brought any of 'my all these things' closer to God. Lord, grant that I/ we may live consciously. Amen

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