Jake Pellegrini ‘14

I remember sitting in the pew listening to this same gospel passage as a child. Taking the literal interpretation, I looked around the church for a spare cross. I thought the message of the gospel was to do as physically commanded, to take a cross and walk somewhere with it.

Now, after a few theology classes, some prayer, and a healthy dose of reflection, I’ve realized that the call to pick up a cross should not be taken so literally. After reading C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, I came to understand that the cross is fundamentally about orienting our will to God’s will. Lewis writes, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.”

The choice is ours. The incredible gift of free will is a double-edged sword. We can choose to align our wills with God’s and give up the earthly shackles or we can turn inward, to remain bound by our own faults.

As a child, I sought an obvious, physical cross. Now, I find the cross in the alignment of my will with God’s. This sacrifice is not easy, and I am by no means a saint. However, through the cross we find the joy we seek, but only by knocking is that door opened.

Let us follow Jesus by offering our daily struggles, challenges, faults, and burdens to God.