During a pilgrimage I was on last summer, I found myself staring at an image of the second Station of the Cross, when Jesus carries His cross. What was different about this particular depiction I was looking at, though, was that this was the moment right before Jesus began to carry His cross. In the icon, Jesus’ hands were open and extended towards the cross in an inviting way—in a way that accepted what was to come, and that was intentionally willing what was going to happen next. Jesus was pursuing God’s will for Him; He was accepting the cross as it was about to be handed to him.
Standing before this image, I felt slightly breathless, because before me stood our Lord Jesus showing me how to live and how to die. The Crucifix typically does this for me, but this icon cemented in my mind Jesus’ obedience and His will, His very own decision and volition to follow the Father’s will for Him.
Perhaps it’s because I will most likely not die a martyr’s death on a cross that the crucifix can sometimes be hard to relate to. But that moment before Jesus picks up His cross? The moment when Jesus has an opportunity to respond to the situation? This is a moment I see happen in my everyday life, multiple times a day. This is a moment I can relate to more easily on a daily basis.
One opportunity for my husband and I to respond arose when we faced multiple health trials; we didn’t know what would happen, so we turned to Jesus.
As I look for guidance on how to respond to these moments that present themselves. . . .these moments where our Father’s will is playing out in my life, then I see that I’m asked to choose God’s will, too; not begrudgingly, not with hesitation, but with confidence and great trust—the same kind of trust that Jesus exhibited when He said, “‘Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?‘” (John 18:11)
Let’s pray for one another, sisters, to embrace our crosses with joy today.
Annie Deddens is a writer and producer. She runs a prayer ministry with her husband, called Pray More Novenas. She has a heart for the sick & suffering, and she writes about living with greater faith (hope & love, too) in this imperfect world as a Catholic wife. You can find out more about her here.