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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Questioning Ehe Theologians
By Veronica Mello


"Take up your cross and follow me." When the priest began his sermon with the quote, we the parishioners cringed. Another homily about the importance of suffering in our Catholic way of life. There is no way around it; those were the words of Christ. "We must suffer with Christ," the theologians interpretation was adopted into the very core of Catholic belief. This caused a substantial amount of anxiety. To me, the meaning of Christ's words seemed to be lost in translation.

As a student of philosophy, I believe that truth can be found when it is pursued with an open mind. The trick, a personal spin cannot be incorporated in the search and no conclusions drawn until the proper amount of delving is completed. So, in that frame of mind, I began my quest.

Many accounts of miracles are found in the New Testament. Jesus healed the blind, the lame, lepers, etc. Jesus was here to redeem us. If suffering was part of our redemption, then why did He cure those who suffered?

"Take up your cross..." If the "cross" symbolized suffering, I question how one would choose to suffer. Illnesses, difficult times, etc. are not things we choose. Now, if the theologians interpreted that to mean we must accept our sufferings (crosses), what other choice do we have? Even if we detest that, for example, we have a broken leg, we're still going to have the broken leg.

The cross may be heavy and cumbersome, but in itself benign; the actual crucification is where the suffering comes in. But, Jesus did not say, "Be nailed to the cross..." or "Be crucified..."

Is it possible the cross symbolizes our faith itself. "Love God...love neighbor...love even your enemies." Such gentle sounding commands but so very difficult, at times, to obey.? I find loving my enemies quite a heavy burden.

Forgiveness is quite cumbersome, indeed.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Imagine the perfection we could realize in this life if everyone obeyed that one?! Yet, our humanity does not lend itself easily to fulfilling that obligation.

Of course, the Ten Commandments offer a challenge of their own. "We're only human," we rationalize. Are we? Are we not flesh and spirit?

"Take up your cross and follow me." Maybe Jesus was simply telling us to be truly proactive in following God's commands; maybe He just wants us to "walk the walk."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
Interesting take on our cross bearing.
c clemons08/24/07
I like it! I agree with your philosphy 100% and I am not a big fan of philosphy. I'm glad that the Bible says to study to show yourself approved, not the theologians. I think you have went deeper than what is on the surface with the words suffer and cross. Good Job.
c clemons08/24/07
"oops misspelled philosophy, told you I am not a fan"
Dee Yoder 08/24/07
It's not easy to follow the road that Christ followed. Our human ways struggle to be forgiving, to not be vengeful, and humble in our walk. It's good to be reminded that Christ will be with us to help do what's right.
Anne Linington08/25/07
Perhaps the concept of redemption is helpful when difficult circumstances come;
Lying on the floor with a suspected broken ankle, I prayed whaat was for me an unusual prayer, that whatever the outcome, God would use it to His glory. And God answered that prayer beyond my imagining, particularly through my neighbour who visited each day, and took on my cleaning. This year, she has qualified as a Social Worker!
Mark Bell08/26/07
I like the angle of "what did he mean by that?" questioning. It tends to create a confusing circular appearing logic, that leads you to something bigger than you thought was there. You presented it nicely.