St. Filaret of Moscow
You must take up your cross in order to follow Jesus.
The cross of Christ is made of suffering, condemnation and death.
Having endured everything for our sake, He has every right to ask each one to endure all this for Him.
However, in order not to be smitten by the burden of His Cross, under which He was considered to be weak, He did not allow us to carry His own Great Cross, but He commanded you to take up your own cross, and to be ready to endure all the sufferings and tortures, both external and internal. Those tortures are determined by the purgatory, purifying and at the same time merciful will of Divine Providence, who rules everything.
Is that inevitable? Those will be the words of some weakened souls.
Be at peace with each other
If Christ, who was sinless and omnipotent, “had to suffer” in order to “enter into His glory,” then how can we, sinful and weakened, enter into His glory without being purified through the trials and being empowered by the sufferings?
What dwells within us now? If our selfishness obstructs from confessing, let us speak of our guilt through the words of the Apostle Paul: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful flesh.”
Since the original sin, the old Adam with his desires and pleasures dwells within us.
So can we get rid of him, and embrace the new inner self, to whom we aspire?
It is impossible without sufferings, not even without death.
We must take up our cross not only to fight the good struggle, but in order to be able to finally crucify the flesh “accompanied by all the desires and pleasures,” to numb “our bodies on earth”, to die secretly, because “our life is Jesus Christ”.
That is the teaching of the Cross, a teaching so necessary and fundamental to Christianity. The Church do not like proclaim it often in words, so it speaks about with symbols and signs.
We get signed on the forehead with the sign of the cross during the Mystery of Baptism.
We have to make the sign of the Cross in every prayer. Cross is the symbol to be venerated and serves as a ritual blessing.
We must obey this command, not as if it were something human, but as if it were the commandment of our Crucified Savior: “Let us deny ourselves, and follow Him by taking up our cross.”