"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8, 34)
Each of us has his own cross. It is composed of everything that disturbs and burdens our spirit, which tears the heart on the right path to the Lord all the days of our life.
The first end of this cross is the frailty of our nature and the evil direction of its forces, such as the lack of intelligence and immaturity of considerations, the lack of energy in the will and its immobility in the affairs of duty, the languor of feelings and their foulness in the improper, especially the fecundity of our self-horde passions and all kinds of lust of the flesh. The awakened spirit sees all this in itself, burdens them and carries it on itself, as a criminal, to whom a smoldering corpse is tied to the shoulders. It is the cross of the fallen humanity.
The second end of our cross is all work and troubles everyday. We seek contentment, good relations with all and a favorable course of our affairs; but in all these aspects of our lives, a mournful and sometimes disastrous disorder occurs almost every minute. Wanting to get rid of troubles, we struggle with obstacles and drag our lives like someone who walks among the thorns and dog-rose: every now and then - clues and scratches. This is the cross of everyday life.
The third kind of cross is composed of works on the performance of duties. Each of us has his own duties; each duty has its own range of activities; each case requires labor and patience to bring it from beginning to end in the spirit, order and completeness that make up its being, with the overcoming of all the inevitable obstacles. Therefore, every binding business for us is a burden, and all of them, in the aggregate, constitute an uneasy yoke of duty, which we bear and must carry to the grave. It is the service cross of the Lord, the community and our neighbors.
There is no one in the world who would not be besieged with these crosses or with his three-part cross. But some carry this cross for salvation, others for perdition to themselves. The Lord, laying on us the cross, wants us to do our salvation for them. If, however, trying to get rid of this cross, he is wounded to death, then he is to blame for his own foolishness and inattention to the protective instructions of God's saving grace. The Lord wants that, by struggling with ourselves, we gain experience in distinguishing between good and evil and cleaned; patiently, bearing the burdens of everyday life, humblely bow to God for mercy; that, fulfilling their duty with the overcoming of all difficulties, worthy of attaining the crown of truth! Thus, when entering into these good intentions of God, we keep ourselves in precisely this kind of relationship to our cross, we bear it with salvation. Otherwise, our cross is not to save us, but to perdition (116, 31-32).
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mark 8, 34). For the Lord who carried the Cross to Golgotha, one can not go without the cross, and all those who follow Him inevitably go with the cross. What is this cross? All sorts of inconveniences, burdens and griefs, lying both from the outside and from within in the path of conscientious obedience to the commandments of the Lord in life according to the spirit of His precepts and demands. Such a cross is so intertwined with a Christian that, where a Christian is, there is this cross, and where there is no such cross, there is not a Christian there. Comprehensive benefits and life in pleasures are not to the face of a true Christian. Its task is to cleanse itself and fix it. He is like a patient who needs some cauterization, then cuts, but how can this be without pain? He wants to escape from the captivity of a powerful enemy, but how can this be without struggle and wounds? Rejoice, feeling the cross on yourself, for it is a sign that you are following the Lord, by salvation, into paradise. A little patience. That's the end and the crown! (107, 75-76).
Among the Great Lent, the worship of the Holy Cross is offered to inspire the fat laborers to patiently bear the yoke they raised up to the end. And in September, why is this done? It happened? But in the providence Wisdom, everything is constructive, there are no cases. This is what: in September they are taking them off the field, at least with us. And so that some of the Christians, in a sense of contentment, did not say: "Soul! You have a lot of good things for many years: rest, eat, drink, have fun "(Luke 12, 19), while others, from poverty, did not lose courage; the eyes of all raised the Cross appeared. He reminds us first that the support of benevolence is not an estate, but a Christian, inner crutch, when the external, according to the goodness of God, is composed. He inspires the second in patience to grow his soul, inspired by the certainty that from the cross they go straight to paradise. Therefore, some people suffer, hoping that they are going straight to the Kingdom of Heaven, while others consume external consolations with fear, as if they do not make an entrance to Heaven. Bishop Theophan the Recluse (107, 309-310).
For our faith to be valid. The Savior demands that we carry our cross.
This cross is twofold: internal and external. The inner cross is the battle of flesh and spirit, the battle that we find in ourselves, when the inclinations of the senses are opposed to reason; when we see the best and praise, and the worst we follow; when we both do not want to leave both, and we can not get both together. The cross is so much more painful that it pierces our heart and takes away the peace of our conscience. Another cross is external, by which we are burdened on the side, for, having renounced ourselves and following the virtues, we must raise ourselves a whole regiment of people enslaved by passion. No one likes the opposite of himself. Thine, Christian, piety equips the wicked against you; your justice is not nice to the bribe taker; your sagacity is annoying to the cunning flatterer; Your continence bothers loving luxury; your thoroughness leads to the anger of the lazy; your persistence torments the man who is dismissed. "If you were of the world," says the Savior to his disciples, "then the world would love its own; but as you are not of the world, but I have chosen you from the world, therefore the world hates you "(John 15, 19).
Bear this cross magnanimously, go to Golgotha for your Podvigopodozhnik and in your patience put the peace of your spirit; prove to the world that your patience is stronger than his persecution.
The inner cross is the conquering within us the warring with the mind of passion, that is, anger, envy, laziness, avarice, popularity, lust, incontinence and so on, and instead strengthen oneself with patience, generosity, meekness, abstinence, diligence, prayer. How difficult this internal war is! In ordinary war there is a certain time, a certain place, there is a rest. When the enemy can not be repelled by force, it is sometimes possible to escape from him by flight. But there is no time, there is always resistance; there is no rest, there is no place to escape, for flesh and passions, fighting with us, we carry in ourselves always. And while we are burdened with this body, we sigh; We can not descend from the battlefield without danger or death. That is why many fierce enemies won, unapproachable cities took, but their passions could not win. The cross, truly, heavy, but when he was sanctified by patience, the Chief of our faith, we can no longer say that he was intolerant. The more passions give will, the more they become more insolent, but when a good soul is accustomed to find pleasure in truth and honesty, she despises the charms of passions.
Another cross, the outer one, which is imposed on us from the side, is not to relax from poverty, from the envy of others, from slander, from persecution, from the burden of duty, but in all that, show oneself as courageous. The good bearing of this cross depends on how one bears the inner cross. The one who curbs the striving of passions, will magnanimously bear down the poverty that is righteously sent by the merciful Father; that envy of others and slander or will not deserve, or despise; he will not be moved by persecution in spirit; he will not be ashamed of his duties with his laziness and negligence.
This is your cross, the evangelical ascetic! The glory or dishonor in this battle depends on your courage. A brave warrior, fighting against the enemy, firmly knows that he must either win or die. Pure faith, kind heart, warm prayer will give the triumph of your virtue, but relaxation, a corrupted conscience, negligence and debauchery will commit you to vice. Heavy, you say, this cross, this battle is terrible. True, it is impossible to reach any glory without difficulty and deed. But the more you give courage, the glorious victory ... Plato, Metropolitan of Moscow (105, 335-341).
The mind, before it ascends from the sleep of laziness, is with the demons. When the Lord Jesus Christ awakens him from laziness and makes him able to see and reason, then he gets the opportunity to ascend to the cross. In this case, the devil begins to blaspheme and pronounce obscene words in the hope that the mind will not weaken, whether the deed will not leave, whether it will turn to the former laziness and inaction. The image of this was two robbers, whom the Lord Jesus Christ separated from each other, crucified between them. One of them blasphemed the Lord, and the other prayed to Him and heard: "Now you will be with Me in Paradise" (LX23, 43) (82, 136).
If you want to follow our Lord Jesus Christ, then keep his commandments. If you want to crucify with Him your old man, then remove from yourself those who take you from the cross, and prepare your heart to bear complacently humiliation, to love those who insult you, to humble yourself before everyone, to restrain your wishes. Be silent with your tongue and mouth, do not judge anyone in your heart (82, 144).
John the Baptist had clothes of camel's hair, was girded with a leather belt around his loins and lived in the desert. This serves as a sign of the mortification of the flesh by deeds and manner of repentance. The feats of repentance perform a preliminary cleansing of the person and make him capable of ascending the cross. The cross is a sign of spiritual immortality (82, 190).
The ascent to the cross takes place after the Pharisees and Sadducees have blocked their mouths. The Sadducees serve as an image of disbelief and hopelessness, the Pharisees are the image of cunning, hypocrisy and vanity (82, 190).
The mind, wishing to ascend to the cross, must shed many prayers and many tears, must cast down every hour before God, indulging in His will and asking for help from His goodness, that it strengthen, preserve it and erect a holy renewal that is no longer defeated (82, 190).
The Lord commanded us to bear the cross ... The meaning (of this commandment) is that the mind is constantly awake and in virtue. He who ascends to such a cross does not descend from him, but abides in constant abstinence from passions. Constantly refraining from passion kills them in time. Then the mind rises to a state of invincibility (82, 212).
While we have the opportunity to resort to the mercy of God and use the riches of the bounties of God, while we are in the body, repent from our hearts in our sins! Brief field of earthly life. If we entrust ourselves with a feat corresponding to our forces, then we inherit eternal and unuttered joy. If we turn back, we will become like the young man who had spoken to the Lord, what to do in order to be saved, but he left the Lord, saddened by His answer. The Lord said to him: "All that you have, sell and give to the poor ... and come, follow me, taking the cross" (Mark 10, 21). With these words the Lord teaches us that our salvation consists in cutting off the will of the fallen nature. The young man seemed painful to give all the property to the poor, but even more painful to bear the cross. The distribution of property to the poor is a private virtue. It makes a person capable of carrying a cross. Carrying the same cross consists in renouncing all kinds of sin and giving birth to love, without which the carrying of the cross can not take place. Rev. Abba Isaiah (82, 213).
Our cross is in the fear of the Lord. Therefore, as the crucified can not move, as he would like, so we should direct our will and desires not to what is pleasing to us and what flattery to our lusts, but according to the law of the Lord, with whom we were crucified. And as the nailed to the cross does not think about the present and the objects of his passion, does not care about tomorrow, does not want possessions, is not proud, does not argue, is not jealous, does not mourn the present, does not remember the past offenses, but considers himself dead for all material , thinks only about where he will go in a few minutes, so we, nailed to the fear of the Lord, must die for everything, that is, not only for carnal vices, but for all worldly things, and pay all attention to where we can every minute to move, because in this way we can I kill all our lusts and carnal passions. Rev. John Cassian Romans (Abba Pinoufius 53, 44).
To bear a cross is to be prepared for dangers ... and daily death, and to do everything as if we no longer hoped that our lives would not fade before the evening (37, 911).
The renunciation of oneself consists in the complete oblivion of the past and the denial of one's desires. St. John Chrysostom (43, 967).
Wish that your affairs are arranged not as you see it, but as God pleases ... Reverend Neil of Sinai (47, 189).
To look at the cross means to make your life as it were dead and crucified for the world, to remain immovable for every sin. Saint Gregory of Nyssa (17, 360).
Wearing the cross is the abolition of all sin; from this, love is born, without which there can be no wearing of the cross. Rev. Abba Isaiah (34, 127).
There are two ways to ascend the cross: one is the crucifixion of the body, and the other is the ascent into contemplation. The first is the result of liberation from passions, and the second is a consequence of the reality of the affairs of the spirit. Rev. Isaac the Syrian (55, 366).
She found the temptation from the devil to the holy Job, generously bearing them, showed that he was a true worshiper. And the devil, who first slandered and said: "Is Job fearing for nothing?" (Job 1, 9), did not find more than to slander him. And so, with patience, his vanquished and disgraced, fell silent. And this means taking up your cross (Matthew 16, 24), that is, be prepared for the patience of everything, whatever happens, even until death, if it is necessary for God's sake. What does it mean to bear your cross? To endure without resentment and generosity whatever happens (104, 879).
"The enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil. 3, 18) those who resist the cross of Christ. How? The cross of Christ teaches us to go in a narrow way-they go wide. The cross teaches you to humble yourself - they are proud. The cross teaches you to cut off your whims - they commit. The cross learns to endure - they are angry and angry. The cross teaches us to crucify the flesh with passions and lusts (Gal. 5, 24) - they are wise in the flesh. The cross teaches us to die for sin, but to live for God - they live for themselves and sin. The cross teaches the Heavenly seek - they are wise about the earthly. Prelate Tikhon Zadonsky (104, 881).
Outside the cross, there is no living knowledge of Christ (108, 357).
Everyone who has spent his life incorrectly, in opposition to God's purpose, to the detriment of his salvation .... there is in relation to himself a thief, a robber, and a murderer. This cross is sent to the villain as the last resort to salvation, so that the villain, having confessed his crimes and recognizing himself worthy of execution, retained the salvation given by God (108, 330-331).
To alleviate suffering and bring spiritual consolations during crucifixion and stay on the cross, the incarnated God near the crucified man (108, 331) was crucified and hanged on the Tree of the Cross.
Humility raised the Lord to the Cross and the disciples of Christ, humility elevates to a cross, which is a holy patience, incomprehensible to carnal minds (108, 332).
The cross is futile and barren, no matter how heavy it is, if through the succession of Christ it does not change into the Cross of Christ (108, 355).
His cross is made for the disciple of Christ by the Cross of Christ, because the true disciple of Christ honors the fulfillment of the commandments of Christ by the sole purpose of his life. All these holy commandments become a cross for him, where he constantly crucifies his old man with passions and lusts (5, 24) (108, 355-356).
The murmuring and indignation at sorrows and misfortunes is a renunciation of the cross (108, 87).
The patient bearing of his cross is the true sight and consciousness of his sin. In this consciousness there is no self-delusion. But he who acknowledges himself as a sinner, and at the same time, murmuring and crying from his cross, proves that he only flatterers himself by the superficial consciousness of sin, deceives himself (108, 356-357).
The disciple of Christ then bears his cross correctly when he recognizes that it is the sorrows sent to him, and not others, that are necessary for his education in Christ and salvation (108, 356).
From the cross of your glory the Lord, rejecting from himself any thought of complaint and murmur, rejecting it as a crime and blasphemy (108, 357).
The cross is the patience in the Lord of all sorrows and misfortunes that will be committed by the Providence of God (109, 106).
To achieve perfection, following the exhaustion of the estate on the poor, it is necessary to take your cross. For the abandonment of the estate must be rejected from himself, which is the acceptance of the cross (109, 347).
For the formation of a visible cross, two bars are needed in a cross-connection between themselves, and arbitrary griefs are needed to compose the invisible cross-feats containing the body in the crucifix, and tribulations from the outside, harnessing and humbling the human spirit (109, 353).
To take up one's cross means submitting obedience and humility to those temporary sorrows and disasters that are pleasing to the Divine Providence to let us purge our sins. Then the cross serves a man as a ladder from the earth to heaven (111, 98).
To take your cross is to voluntarily and with zeal to submit to the hardships and exploits that curb the dumb aspirations of our flesh (111, 93).
Consciousness of our sinfulness, thanks to God, obedience to the will of God, we make our cross - the instrument of execution and the banner of dishonor - an instrument of victory and a sign of glory, like the Cross of the Lord (111, 95).
He who took up his cross, rejecting himself, was reconciled to himself - his circumstances, with his own, external and internal, that only can reasonably and correctly follow Christ (111, 95).
We will not allow ourselves a malicious grumble, in particular we will not allow ourselves a soul-destroying blasphemy, which is often heard from the mouth of a blind, fierce sinner, tormented and beating on his cross, trying in vain to get rid of the cross. With murmur and blasphemy, the cross becomes an unbearable weight, dragging you to the hell crucified on it (111, 95-96).
Taking of his cross, that is, the benevolent patience of sorrows, is based on self-sacrifice. Without self-denial it is impossible ... Self-denial is based on faith in Christ. This spiritual law is presented by Christ (112, 151).
Distribution of the estate is preceded by the taking of the cross. When you save an estate, you can not accept and wear a cross (112, 279).
Following Christ can not take place without the acceptance of the cross and the recognition in it of the New Testament truth and the Justification of God (112, 280).
From the cross we are able to profess and glorify God, in prosperity we are capable of rejecting Him (111, 292).
Do not seek ... the perfection of the Christian in the virtues of men - here there is none; it is mysteriously kept in the Cross of Christ! (111, 477-478).
The cross is a sign of the election of God, the seal of Christ. This seal is sealed by His Christ! This sign is represented on the beloved of God by the Angels of God Almighty (111, 477).
This is the divine purpose for man during his earthly life! He must believe in the Redeemer, confess with his heart and lips, confess with his work, accepting with submission the cross that Jesus will be pleased to impose upon his disciple. He who does not receive the cross can not be a disciple of Jesus. Bishop Ignatius (Bryanchaninov) (112, 129).
"We suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified"
(Rome 8, 17)
We must understand that the Lord does not force us to wear His Cross, that is, to suffer the suffering that He took for us. He does not say: if anyone wants to follow me ... take my cross, but: take every cross of your own (Matthew 16, 24). For our Lord knows that we can not bear His cross; We can carry our own crosses according to our strength and with His help.
Each person has his own cross, some kind of his own calamity: either the sinful desires of his own nature and the struggling of the flesh against the spirit, or the temptation of the enemy of the invisible, or persecution, insults, resentment, slander and condemnation of the enemy visible, or the deprivation of a beloved friend, children and estates, or anything else mournful, or bodily ailments and any suffering. All these are our crosses, and when a man for the love of God patiently carries them, he joins in the suffering of the Lord, is conformable to His Cross. Our Lord regards our suffering as suffering. And as he that doeth good works, said of these works, "Since ye did it unto one of these my little brothers, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25, 40), and about the wrongs done to us, says to those who offend us: "Since you have done them, you have done to me. " For the Lord suffers in us, as if in His own members; we, suffering, as if collecting the pieces left from the meal, we collect some remnants from the suffering of the Lord, according to the words of the apostle: "I fill the lack in my flesh with the sorrows of Christ" (Col. 1, 24), that is, I continue to endure in my body something that He could not endure.
And when the apostle boasts of the Cross of the Lord, he boasts together and his; boasting with his cross boasts together and the Cross of Christ. Christ began to suffer, and we finish and complete them, we fill the lack of the afflictions of Christ in our flesh. And as the Cross of the Lord, that is, the suffering of the Lord, made great and glorious, likewise our crosses, that is our sufferings, are made by grace and with the help of the Christ who suffered for us, great and glorious, as we shall see.
After Adamov's crime, a paradise was closed to the human race, and no one for five thousand five hundred years could open it for more than a year. All, even the holy saints of God, after the end of this temporary life did not go to heaven, but to hell, as St. James testified, complaining about his son Joseph: "With sadness, I will go down to my son to the grave" (Gen. 37, 35) . Who then opened the door of paradise? Christ, the new Adam. What is the key? Cross, for the Cross is the key to the castle of heaven, as St. Chrysostom says: "The cross is the key of paradise, the Cross of Christ opened heaven." Let's see how the robber entered the paradise. Is it not suffering by the godfather? For though he was crucified for his wicked deeds, he began to feel compassion for Christ, saying: "We received the Decent in our works, but He did nothing wrong." And he immediately heard from the Lord: "Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23, 41, 43) and at the same hour went from the cross to paradise. Speaking about this, Saint Chrysostom says: "Nothing mediates between the cross and paradise: the cross - and immediately after him the paradise", that is, in the middle between the cross of Christian suffering and paradise there are no obstacles, obstacles and inconveniences, for they are not blocked either by the great wall, nor high impassable mountains, nor deep moats, nor fast-flowing rivers, but then at the cross and paradise. We do not doubt that the one who endures something in the name of the love of God with gratitude is already at the door of heavenly ones: the cross - and then paradise. So, what the Cross of Christ has done, has also received the cross of a robber: the suffering of Christ has opened heaven, and the misery of a robber has led him to paradise. The action of both is great and glorious (103, 733-735).
The apostle says: "For me the world is crucified" (Gal. 6, 14). If the world is crucified, then it also has its own special cross. Indeed, the peace-lovers who enslaved themselves to the vanities of this world and who loved the temporal life more eternally bear their crosses, that is, endure their suffering, their exploits, even useless, which are sometimes boasted, as the Scripture says: "the wicked boast of the lust of his soul" (Psalm 9, 24). Is it not a feat to enslave and serve any sinful passion? Is it not a feat-to go to stealing at night or to commit atrocity, to not give sleep to your eyes all night? Is it not a feat - to go to robbery, to experience hunger and thirst, to suffer changes in the weather - winter, heat, frost and rain? Is not anger, anger and seeking revenge for one's neighbor an inner
suffering of the heart? And the pleasing of the flesh, gluttony and immense satiety, even to damage to health - is not it all a cross? How many people have fallen into serious illnesses from the satiety of the womb! Is it not the cross - to revel in self-forgetfulness, and then suffer with a hangover and moan, tied his head? Is this not suffering? How many people lost their lives from drunkenness!
But what is the use of these vain worldly crosses, from such feats and sufferings? Listen to what the apostle says: "Many, of whom I have often told you, and now even with tears say, act as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is ruin, their god is the womb, and their glory is in shame, they think about the earthly. "(Flux 3, 18-19). This is the benefit of worldly crosses: "their end is destruction ... and their glory is in shame!" "But I do not want to boast, except by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6, 14), to Him be glory with the Father and with the Holy Spirit forever. Sainted Dimitry of Rostov (103, 739).
"My yoke is good, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11, 30). All the elect of God as one Spirit of God are being led, so they are one in wisdom. The apostle Paul says: "Thanks be to God, that ... when you were freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom., 6, 17, 18). Why is the Christly dominion of such desire and joy worthy, if the one under the authority of Christ must bear the burden and raise the yoke? But what burden and what yoke! Igos of Christ is "good," that is, desirable, and His burden is "easy." This yoke does not burden, this burden does not aggravate. And for such and such people there is no law. How not to be and for them the law? But they execute such a law as if they were playing; they bear such a burden, but they are almost insensitive to it, and that is why they come to such perfection, as if there is no law for them. On those only the law, which is forcibly and then taken for good, when the law threatens them with Gehenna fire, and who willingly substitute their shoulders for the burden of Christ, there is no law for them.
But, they say, and to be in constant feat, fear and caution - hard and painful. It is true so, if this feat did not contain anything sweet and comforting. But the feat of virtue itself is good and sweet. It is the work itself and, if it is possible so to say, our composition strengthens us with fatigue, warns of painful consequences and fills the spirit with calmness that makes the virtuous ascetic more easier than burdens his undertaken work. Why do we do not consider the greatest works undertaken for the sake of self-interest to be painful, if only for certainty self-interest has reached our hands? We can not say that a great exercise has been assigned to us, but neither sufficient forces nor suitable tools nor a commensurate reward are given. Have you seen a son who is obedient and respectful to his father, who does that his father is still going to order? So are the holy men who want to die a thousand times better than to anger God once. A glorious end to your small feat and temporary reward is given to an endless reward.
Can those who have fallen in the bowels of God now deplore the labors and labors they carried on earth? Feeling the ineffable pleasure of the benefits we hope for, but which we do not comprehend, they no doubt recognize with the apostle that all their "temporary sufferings are worth nothing compared to that glory" (Rom. 8, 18), which they honor from the bounty of God; and for this award a thousand times more suffering would not have been denied.
But what prevents us and throw back the sleep, sober up, raise hands with entreaty to Heaven, ask Heaven for forgiveness, ask that a grace be given that would lift us up from the bed and lead us wherever we wanted, and we would be happy to follow it - It is known that she will take us on the right path, will guide us to the land right. What prevents us, imitating those wise men, willingly take the yoke of Christ and His burden? Or do we not have the same God, or is not that Goodness? Or will God cut our hand, or will the generous Father shut his paternal bowels? No, "he that cometh to me I will not cast out" (John 6, 37), "He says ... O our God! govern our purpose and help us to accomplish a feat. Plato, Metropolitan of Moscow (106, 253-257).