September 18, 2022

Reflection on the Sunday After the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (St. Theophan the Recluse)

Sunday After the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Mark 8:34-38; 9:1

By St. Theophan the Recluse  

“Whoever wants to follow Me, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34) .

It is impossible to follow the Crucified Lord without a cross; and all who follow Him certainly follow with the cross.

What is this cross? All sorts of inconveniences, hardships and sorrows, both from the outside and from within, on the path of conscientious fulfillment of the commandments of the Lord in life in the spirit of His precepts and requirements. Such a cross is so fused with a Christian that where there is a Christian, there is this cross, and where there is no such cross, there is no Christian.

Comprehensive privileges and a life of pleasure are not natural to the true Christian. His task is to cleanse and correct himself. He is like a patient who needs to be either cauterized and surgically cut, but how can this be without pain? He wants to escape from the captivity of a strong enemy. How can he be without struggles and wounds? He must go against all the orders around him, and this is how to withstand without inconvenience and embarrassment? Rejoice, feeling the cross on yourself, for this is a sign that you are following the Lord, the path of salvation to paradise. A little patience. Here is the end and the crowns!