“If you wish to come after me, you must deny yourself
and take up your cross daily and follow me.”
Many of you will know that I have a new job this year, as Spiritual Director at our national seminary for Aotearoa New Zealand Holy Cross Seminary. The students arrived at the start of this month and are now well into their year of formation.
I well remember driving into the seminary for the first time as a new student. That was a few years ago and the seminary was then in the south of the country with a large marble statue of Jesus carrying his cross out the driveway. For twenty years now this statue has been in a prominent position at the new seminary in Ponsonby Auckland.
The statue was a significant personal touchstone for me when I was a student. I liked the way that Jesus was headed out into the world, perhaps knowing as I did that he was free to put down the cross if he chose. But he kept carrying the cross, even to the death that was the pathway to abundant life.
That’s the reason that I am still on this road a few decades later, not because I like suffering, but because I am more convinced than ever that any worthwhile goal is reached only by a journey that involves taking up a cross.
What we realise very quickly on this journey is that our greatest human desire is not to be free of suffering and pain, but to live whatever reality is present in the great company of those who understand that the cross is not an end but the method, and that the desire for this life transforms every fear.
“I have put before you
life and death.