“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” – John 12:23b-24
Shortly after becoming Catholic, I attended a day of reflection at a nearby retreat center. It was a retreat for survivors of child sexual abuse.
During a break, I walked outside and noticed Stations of the Cross set up outside. I had never prayed them before but felt the need to do so. I had no idea of what to do or what to say, so I decided to read the inscription on each cross and reflect on them.
As I walked the path, I was struck by the fact that my life seemed to follow the same path. I had carried many crosses. I had fallen many times. I had died many deaths.
I was so moved and decided I needed to go through all of the Stations again. I reflected on my childhood and the heavy cross I had carried most of my life. I cried and I prayed and I thanked Jesus for the times I knew he helped me carry my cross.
And I went home, a new person, never to forget that day.
This was the first time in my spiritual life that I had understood that, to be like Jesus, to follow Jesus, we too must carry our own crosses. We too must die to ourselves.
And I also learned that, while dying to self can be difficult and painful, it can also be healing. Transformative. Renewing.
A kind of resurrection.
Dear Lord, as we come closer to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, as we ponder your passion, death and resurrection, help us to meditate on these things. Help us to know your will for us and increase our understanding of what you have done for us. Help us to know your love for us is eternal and unchanging. Heal us, Lord. Transform our lives and our hearts so we grow closer to you. Amen.