My Cross to Bear

Today’s readings:
Letter of St. James 2:14-24, 26
Psalms 112:1-6
Gospel of Mark 8:34-9:1

“Faith without works is dead,” St. James tells me. My faith is not alive if I don’t do something with what I believe. I believe my calling is to be a husband and a father. I believe this calling is given by God, and He shows me how to be a good husband by asking me to model after what Jesus did for His spouse, the Holy Church: self-sacrifice.

The materialistic world disagrees with me. A part of me resists this constant self-sacrifice. “What about my needs? My identity?” I understand the arguments against relentless self-sacrifice to my wife and family, but I remind myself that I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for God. I have no needs because God provides me with everything. I don’t mind losing my identity, because I gain His sonship.

As with all noble things, this is easier said than done. I do have needs and my ego often reasserts its need for identity, but there isn’t much of a battle. I am always amazed by how often and how easy I deny myself what I really want to do. This is how I know that the grace of God is working within me. I’m not sure how I got to this point in my life. I should be unhappy, but I’m not. I’m extremely grateful, and so I’m full of joy.

I shouldn’t be proud of this. I thank the Holy Spirit for guiding me. How else can I have the grace to deny myself and follow Jesus’ example? The reading in today’s Gospel of Mark tells of Jesus asking his disciples to take up their own crosses. I have my own cross to bear: it is the challenges of being the type of husband and father envisioned by God.

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