1998, Articles, Raiati

Self-Denial / September 20, 1998

Many of the attitudes of our people can be summed up by the following: I said so and I am not willing to change my mind; if you have a different opinion, I will further insist on what I said; and the two people become two parties. On the other side, we have the Cross that consists of two woody pieces, one vertical and the other horizontal. Vertically, the Christ is oriented towards God His Father; and horizontally, He embraces people in His arms. If you are not oriented towards the Truth, that is God’s Self, words and actions; you can in no way accept others. If you do not tell your friend or foe when he is right “you have convinced me and I will renounce my thoughts”, you are standing outside the way of the Christ who knows no place for you but the Truth, for He said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.

            This is what Jesus pointed out in the Gospel reading for today: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” In fact, cross-bearing is as simple as renouncing your own words – if they were incorrect – and admitting that you have adopted a different and more convenient thought. Being the man of Truth means believing in Jesus for He is the Truth.

            In this context, the Lord claimed: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” You might gain money, power and prestige; yet all that you have shall be void if you refuse the Truth and insist on falsehood. You cannot enter the Kingdom of God if you keep on resisting the Truth. Nothing is of more importance than maintaining your soul in the Truth of God, in honesty and purity. This is why He said: “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Man is made by his heart, not by the money in his pocket or his bank account. If you were the reference of the Truth, so falsehood will have no place in your words, behavior and intentions; then you shall have an unparalleled strength. And the Kingdom of God would be already bestowed upon you.

The main question for the followers of the Cross religion is the following: Do I accept to be crucified as required by my baptism? Am I ready to mortify my desires in order to live with the Christ? If I do not do so, the Cross would only be a piece of wood or gold attached to my neck; a symbol with no meaning. We are invited to go beyond the symbol and reach for the meaning that is the new life. The first desire to be mortified is the worship we offer for ourselves and our opinions. This is arrogance; and the arrogant is a sinner because he considers himself a god; he does not see his brother in humanity and does not embrace him. He worships his own words, his own attitudes. The whole world is made by his arrangement, his own decisions; and all people have to comply with his plans. He cannot accept the failure of any of his plans.

The Cross of the Christ would only be a beautiful melody if we do not believe that our situation is one of crucifixion, of self-denial, of listening and respect to others; so that we can feel the sufferings and needs of others. The Cross is when I embrace others into my heart and we ascend our way to the Christ who brings us together.

Translated from Arabic – 27.03.10

Original Text: “إنكار الأنا” – 20.09.98

Continue reading