It is believed that the bearing of one’s cross implies something extraordinary that goes beyond the usual devotion. That is a misconception. Carrying your own cross means dealing with everyday tasks without complaints and overcoming the difficulties and challenges that we face with patience. In one case, it might involve being patient with your mother-in-law or daughter-in-law; in another case, it might entail taking care of a sick parent or child; in yet another case, it might require doing the same mundane, monotonous and routine work every day. The acceptance of all the circumstances in which the Lord has placed us is the carrying of our cross.
Few people are strong enough to understand and accept that. In most cases, a person seeks a “superior” ministry far away from his relatives who actually need that person’s help or, conversely, whom he needs, because it wasn’t by sheer accident that the Lord has brought to us all those people. It is through them that we struggle with our passions, hone our humility, patience and courage, and grow stronger in faith.
“God always surrounds us with people with whom we need to be cured of our shortcomings,” Elder Silouan of Athos said.
Postponing the big job for later is self-deception. The later will never come. As long as we are looking for windmills to fight against in distant lands, our cross will lie aside, tainted and forgotten.
The cross is about trusting God, about encountering Him in every person who shows up on the way; it is about enduring the circumstances that are predetermined by God. It is the highest achievement to remain a human being in any situation.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds