The yoke of the cross

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetTake my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11)

Lately, I find it easy to get angry because life is hard and daily life is messy and the world sometimes seems unforgiving and harsh.

And I feel angry because Jesus told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

I know this isn’t Jesus promising an easy, successful life. I know He isn’t preaching material prosperity and comfort. But what is He promising? It seems impossible to find ease and light if one is to follow His command to take up the cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16)

How could a cross be easy and light? Christ Himself struggled and agonized and suffered on the road to Golgotha. His cross was not easy and light. It was heavy and huge. It brought suffering and death. It brought darkness and grief to His mother and disciples as they stood at its foot. It hurt. It bled. It killed.

But that isn’t the end, for the cross is more than heavy suffering. It is the way of love. Our Lord took up His cross so that our cross might be easy and light. This doesn’t mean that our momentary suffering ought not hurt. It is heavy, and hard. Yet it is heavy with a weight of glory that will be revealed to us. It is heavy with love and eternal life.

Rest comes for our souls when we pick up our cross and follow Jesus down the Way of Sorrow to the hill of Calvary. For there The Cross stands, our crosses so small in comparison. There we see that our cross is a yoke, yes. It is a burden, yes. But it is a yoke tying us to love. It is a burden bringing us life.

And we can walk this road because Christ already has.

When we know that the way of love–this exodus, this going out of oneself–is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.” (Joseph Ratzinger)

One thought on “The yoke of the cross

  1. Steven Pohorsky

    I was looking for confirmation that “take My yoke” and “take up your cross” are connected. Now that I came here and reflect, it seems like that is one of the themes in “Be Anxious for Nothing” by Joyce Meyer, as in the part “No Faith, No Rest”, Hebrews 4:2,3. Also, ‘Taking up your cross is chiefly a matter of dying to the will of the ego to “handle it myself”, take things into my own hands, seek the answer somewhere else besides the cross, such as with the miraculous-centered mentality of the religionist or the rational power of the “Greek” — (from my notes from a talk by Jack Hayford). Joyce says that “taking things into my own hands” is one of the things that makes us “heavy laden”, and says, “Works not initiated by the Holy Spirit are dead works and produce no good result.”
    Please do not think of me as more than “an unworthy servant”, and please pray for me for the grace to abandon the “rational power of the ‘Greek'”, which is exhausting, probably because it is “taking things into my own hands”.

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