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The Lord Christ and the cross

The Lord invited to bear the Cross and said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24) (Mark 8:34). And He said to the rich

young man: "Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor,... and come, take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:21).  He made the bearing of the Cross a condition for the discipleship to Him. He said: "And whoever does n ot bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27). 

He Himself, during all the period of His Incarnation on earth, lived bearing the Cross. 
Since His Nativity, Herod wanted to kill Him, and He run away with His mother to Egypt. When He began his mission, he suffered the fatigue of the service, and had "nowhere to lay His head" (Luke 9: 58). He lived a life of pain, so that Isaiah said about Him that He is: "A Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He was bitterly persecuted by the Jews. Once they "took up stones again to stone Him" (John 10:31). Another time they wanted to "throw Him down over the cliff" (Luke 4:29). As for their insults and their accusation of Him, they are very numerous. All these are crosses which are other than the Cross on which He was crucified........ 

The cross in the lives of saints
The disciples of Christ also placed the Cross before their eyes. 
They preached continually....... and said about that: "but w e preach Christ crucified" although He is "to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness" (1 Cor. 1:23). The apostle saint Paul said: "For I determined not to know anyting among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). He rather boasted in the Cross saying: "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). 
Even the angel who announced the Resurrection, used this expression " Jesus who was crucified". He said to the two Mariam: "I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. he is not here; for He is risen, as He said" (Matt. 28:5). Thus he called Him "Jesus who was crucified" although He was already risen. The expression " who was crucified" remained attached to him, and our fathers the apostles used it and concentrated their predication on it. As saint Peter said to the Jews "know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). 

The Cross is the narrow gate in which the Lord invited us to enter (Matt.7:13). 
He said to us: "In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33); 
"And you will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:22); 
"yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service" (John 16:2); 
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19). 
Thus the apostle saint Paul taught: "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). 

The life of the Cross is evident in the lives of the martyrs, the abbots, and the ascetics. 
In view of the faith, the martyrs and the confessors suffered unbearable torments and agonies. The majority of the early apostles and bishops marched in the way of martyrdom. When the Lord called Saul of Tarsus to become an apostle for the gentiles, He said about him "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16). We can mention as an example, the apostolic saint Athanassius of the abbots and the cross which they carried. He was exiled three times and he was exposed to bad accusations; and saint John Chrysostom who was also exiled...... and the incarceration and ostracisation to which the fathers were exposed. 

As for the fathers & monks, the Church surnames them "the cross bearers". 
They have borne the cross of solitude and aloofness from every human consolation, and the cross of ascetism in which they were denuded from every corporal desire. They suffered the pains of hunger, thirst, cold, heat, poverty, and penury, in view of the greatness of their love the King Christ. They also suffered the afflictions and the warfare of the devils in various ways and kinds, as in the life of saint Antonios, and the lives of the wandering anchorites.

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