Transfiguration of the Cross
Today's Sunday, the third Sunday of Lent, is dedicated to the Cross of the Lord. The Depreciation of the Trees of the Holy Cross … But, as we have already said, it is more like a monastic memory – in the middle of Lent to offer the Cross as support to Christians, and this is dedicated to the chants of the day. And besides the Cross, the Gospel reading from Mark on this day also supports us. The Lord says: "Whoever wants to follow Me, deny himself, take your cross, and follow Me."
It is very important here to correctly place the emphasis. Because if we take the words of Christ literally, we will never fulfill them. What does it mean to deny oneself? First of all – yourself as a measure of all things. His pride, his self. Myself as an absolute criterion by which we measure everything around. In principle, each of us is quite successfully learning to fight with ourselves. And this only serves us for the good. In the morning we want to sleep, but by the will of the scruff we remove ourselves from the bed and drive us to work, or study, or somewhere else. Sometimes I want to do something of my own, but if there is some kind of social duty or other concern, then we try to do it, although this is uncomfortable and unpleasant for us. Perhaps these are the most vivid and classic examples of how to reject yourself in the Gospel sense of the word. This does not mean that you need to chop off your self, your personality, it does not mean that you need to shut yourself up and be not yourself. No, of course, this means that we should not build our life and life around us out of selfish considerations.
Then the words about the Cross become clearer. If you are ready to give up on yourself as the measure of all things, then you open up to other people. And this is a rather difficult discovery. Bearing each other's weaknesses is compared to the Cross. Carry a cross – not just pull fate, smoke the air with a murmur. To bear your cross is to rejoice in your life, to rejoice at the people who come into our lives. The desire to encourage oneself to an optimistic outlook on life, especially to those who find it difficult. For example, those who care for the elderly sick. This is to carry your cross.
Based on this, it is clear what “follow Me” means. This means looking in this world for a way to keep the commandments of Christ. How to do it? Each has its own measure of understanding and keeping the commandments. For example, Anthony the Great heard in the church the words that everything needs to be distributed, he went into the desert and became a monk. We cannot call everyone to this. To follow Christ does not mean to go somewhere. From myself, from work, friends, the same sport. This means that you need to transform the place where you are, and first of all yourself. Not so much moving as transforming yourself. And the symbol of this Transfiguration has been the Cross of Christ for two thousand years.
Project “Great Lent with Hegumen Siluan (Tumanov)”
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