A Rosary Meditation: The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery, The Carrying of the Cross.

“If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself.” Luke 9:23.

Denial. It comes in various packages. There’s the denial that refuses to honestly admit the obvious. The Pharisees practiced this sort of denial when confronted by the Messiah. He didn’t fit their preconceived mold. And then there was Peter’s denial. His denial consisted of a lie. Better to play it safe. I’m sure there are others, different types, reasons, and excuses. But its still denial.

Then there’s the denial that Jesus asks for here. Its the only form of denial that counts in a positive way. Self denial. Its like taking up a cross and following Christ. Willingly. And self denial is a cross. It means by passing certain things, giving up others, and tempering some. It means giving up my will and choosing his instead.

Its not easy. Its hard. To set the flesh and the mind aside. Actually, its more than just hard, its impossible for us to do alone and on our own. But we’re not alone. We’re told that we can do all things through him who strengthens us. That matters settled. But we aren’t settled, are we? We give ourselves to him, but somewhere deep inside something is held back. Or we give ourselves to him and then, maybe just a minute or two latter, take it all back.

There’s more to carrying a cross than just picking it up and walking. If that’s all there was to it anyone could do it. But when Jesus carried his cross what sort of example did he give us? He fell, didn’t he? And he got up again. More than once. And he accepted help. So we’ll give him our life and take it back, we’ll fall. A real Christian falls and gets up again. And again, and again. As many times as it takes to reach that perfection God has in store for us. You’ll remember that we’re told Jesus fell three times. I’ve wondered if he fell more than three times and its just that we’re only told about the three. I don’t know. I just know he’s our example.

“For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil.” Proverbs 24:16.

Just a thought … In the Old Testament the number 7 denotes perfection. Like in the above verse. Now that doesn’t always mean flawless. I’ve said before that you can set a coffee cup down on a completed jigsaw puzzle and leave a ring, a coffee stain. Its no longer flawless, but its still perfect in the sense that its complete. Don’t beat yourself up over falling. Just get up. As many times as it takes. And don’t play an April Fools prank on yourself, don’t practice that “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” form of denial, like you can do it all by yourself. What do you think the rest of us are here for?



  1. Perhaps Christ fell three times because Peter denied Him three times. If so, Christ is telling us that when we sin, we deny God and His divine law, and thereby add weight to the Cross He bore to atone for us. God bless!

    • Its no doubt true our sins add to the weight of his cross. They probably often add to the weight of the crosses of those around us as well, causing them to fall too. Its a lot to think about, isn’t it? Have a blessed day. 🙂

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