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Bearing the Cross

[Eph. 5:20–26; Luke 3:23–4:1] The hon­ourable cross is brought out for ven­er­a­tion in the mid­dle of Great Lent in order to inspire those who toil in fast­ing to patient­ly bear the yoke they have tak­en to the end. Why is this done in Sep­tem­ber? Is it acci­den­tal? But there are no acci?dents for the Prov­i­den­tial Wis­dom that arranges all things. This is why: [in Rus­sia], at least, in Sep­tem­ber the har­vest is tak­en from the field. And so that some of the Chris­tians might not feel too sat­is­fied and say: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be mer­ry!” and so that oth­ers might not fall in spir­it be?cause of scarci­ty, the ele­vat­ed cross is brought before all. It reminds the for­mer that the sup­port of well be?ing is not pos­ses­sions, but their bear­ing of the cross in a Chris­t­ian, inner way, should God’s good­ness bring exter­nal plen­i­tude; and it in?spires the lat­ter to pos­sess their souls in patience, through the cer?tainty that they will go from the cross direct­ly to heav­en. There­fore, may some endure, know­ing, that they are trav­el­ling a smooth path to the heav­en­ly king­dom; and may the oth­ers enjoy exter­nal com­forts with fear, not seal­ing the entrance to heav­en against themselves.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse