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Power of the Cross

Power of the Cross

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Published by Amy Welborn
The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel.
The Power of the Cross by Michael Dubruiel.

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Published by: Amy Welborn on Apr 06, 2012
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Taking Up Our Cross...
To Follow the Lord

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that
in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for
he cares about you. Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the
devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to
devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same
experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood through-
out the world.

1 PETER5:6–9

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus
answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but
you shall follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can-
not I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus
answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I
say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three
times.”

JOHN13:36–38

Father Benedict Groeschel spent a month on life support after a
car struck him at a busy intersection in Orlando, Florida. He has
no memory of that month but his fellow religious have shared
with him the outpouring of prayers and sacrifices on his behalf
during that time of uncertainty.

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Father Benedict was in Florida that weekend because he was
scheduled to speak to 125 priests at a workshop the following
Monday; instead he was confined to a hospital bed. Monsignor
Andrew Cusack, who was
in charge of that workshop,
stood at the podium in
Father Benedict’s place and
prayed for the friar’s recov-
ery. A month later, Father
Benedict emerged from the
hospital. At almost the
same time, Monsignor
Cusack was laid to rest. He
had died suddenly upon his return to New Jersey. None of us
knows what the future holds.

“Where Are You Going?”

When St. Peter heard that Jesus was going somewhere, he wanted
to follow the Lord. Jesus refused, and told the apostle that he
would follow later. Peter protested: He was willing to lay down
his life for Jesus (again something that he ultimately would do
later). Then Jesus dropped a bombshell: That very night, Peter
would deny him three times.
The final battle to following Jesus is the battle of self. No mat-
ter how pure our motives may seem, until we trust in God more
than we trust in ourselves, we are doomed to fail. To truly follow
Jesus, we must unite ourselves with him and trust him totally.
The story of Peter’s ultimate sacrifice in Rome has long been
told. When Nero’s persecution of the Christians broke out in
Rome, Peter fled. On his way out of the city, he met Jesus on the
Appian Way. Shocked to see the Lord, Peter asked, “Domine, quo
vadis?”(“Lord, where are you going?”)

Week Six: Taking Up Our Cross . . .

209

No matter how pure our
motives may seem, until
we trust in him more than we
trust in ourselves, we are doomed
to fail. If we are truly to follow
Jesus, we must unite ourselves
with him and trust him totally.

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Jesus looked at Peter and said, “I am going to Rome, to be
crucified again.” Hearing the words of the Lord, Peter turned
back to Rome to face his own death. He was crucified upside
down, declaring himself unworthy to die the same way as the
Lord he had denied. “You cannot follow me now,but you shall
follow afterward,” Jesus had told Peter. And he did, when the
time was right.

The Greeks had two words for time, chronosfor chronolog-
ical time (clock and calendar time) and kairosfor the “right” or
“opportune” time. Jesus often made the distinction to his disci-
ples, who thought more in terms of chronological time than of
God’s time. When Peter first declared his intent to the Lord, it
was not yet time; the kairosmoment—God’s time—did not
come until Peter had witnessed to the truth of the gospel in
Rome.

When the Jews celebrate Passover, the celebration begins
with a question: “Why is this night different?” In this way they
enter into God’s time—when God intervened, did something to
change the very course of history. On the night before he died,
Jesus took bread and wine and declared it his body and blood.
“Do this in memory of me.” Once again it was kairos time, God’s
time, just as it is every time we interrupt the daily grind of
chronological time to enter God’s time in the Mass.
Everything happens when God wants it to happen. Follow-
ing Christ is a matter of surrendering to God’s time, of leaving
behind our own plans in order to be led by Christ. Our goals and
plans are always secondary to what God intends for us.
In a letter, Peter told the followers of Christ to be humble,
and God would exalt them. No doubt he was thinking of all the
times he had been humbled by Jesus’ superior knowledge of him.
In time, Peter grew wiser, and came to understand that the only
stance of the follower of Christ is “Lord, depart from me for I

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am a sinful man.” For it is only then that he will hear the Lord
say, “Follow me.”

“Be watchful,” Peter also tells us. The path is difficult, and
our opponent seeks to overtake and devour us like a roaring lion.
This is not a journey for the timid or the proud, but a journey
for the humble. There is much to fear ahead, but we know of
someone who can be trusted to lead us “through the valley of
evil.”

“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you,” Peter
admonishes us. Like Peter, may we learn to listen when the Lord
tells us to “let go and to cast your net on the other side.” No mat-
ter what perils face us, the Lord will always tell us the way to go.

Steps to Take as You Follow Christ

Ask—How often do I trust my own instincts, and how often do
I entrust myself to Jesus?

Seek—Try to live each day with a resignation to God’s will,
accepting each moment with the expectation that God might be
breaking through to you.

Knock—Meditate on 1 Peter 5:6–9. Think about the experiences
of Peter in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and the words
that he writes here. What lesson do they convey? How might the
devil be seeking to devour you in your attempts to follow Christ?

Transform Your Life—Make an amendment to live humbly.
Cast all of your hopes and anxieties on the Lord. Realize that fol-
lowing Jesus means living a life of trust not in your way but in
God’s way, the way of the cross.

Week Six: Taking Up Our Cross . . .

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