More about our crosses
I wrote in Flos Carmeli's comment box a while ago:
"We accept and embrace our crosses
and offer up our sufferings as a gift,
as a sacrificial offering.
Elsewise we are bound to them
resisting and unwilling,
and we are crushed and broken by them.
Not having a cross is not one of the options."
In holy baptism we are anointed,
as Christ was anointed,
prophet, and king, and priest.
In the same way that the sons of Aaron were priests,
offering the sacrifices in the Lord's Temple;
yet the people Israel
(all of them, not only Aaron's sons)
were a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart;
there are the presbyters and the bishops,
at their hands offering our Eucharist;
yet all the baptized are truly priests,
offering gifts in sacrifice to God.
Set beside that one great Offering
that the Eucharist makes always present for us,
our offerings are so small, so imperfect;
but they are ours to give, nonetheless.
The Lord Jesus, when He took up His cross,
was totally and perfectly innocent.
We are not.
In fact, our crosses are in part constructed
from our own sins and stupidities and rotten choices.
our Lord permits us to bear our burdens beside Him.
Actually, He commands us to do so.
"Take up your cross, and follow me."
We are allowed, actually invited,
to join our offering with His own:
it is what we are baptized to do,
to make our offering to God
along with that of His Son.
St. Paul said in one of his letters
that our own offerings
would make up what was lacking in the suffering of Christ.
How can the suffering of Christ be lacking?
Yet, we are invited; Christ knows Christ's business.
We embrace our crosses every day
and make of our suffering and our dying
(that's what crosses are for: for dying on)
a sacrificial offering to God,
and we become more and more conformed to Jesus,
and more and more empty of the trivia we collect,
then we can be filled with the Lord, Himself;
the One we claim for our prize, our pearl.