Thursday after Ash Wednesday
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must... take up his cross daily and follow me"
To many the word seems harsh; "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus"... Why do you fear then to take up the cross, the way that leads to the kingdom? In the cross you are saved, revived, protected. In the cross you are showered with sweetness from on high, your mind is strengthened, your spirit rejoiced. In the cross is virtue's sum, and perfect holiness. In the cross alone is the hope of life eternal, the soul's salvation. So take up your cross and follow Jesus; and you will enter eternal life... For if you die with him, you shall also likewise live with him. If you are his companion in punishment, so shall you be in glory.
Everything is founded on the cross... There is no other way to life, nor to true inner peace... Walk where you will, seek what you will; you will find neither a loftier way above nor a safer way below, but only the way of the holy cross.
Plan as you will, arrange as you see fit; all you will ever find is suffering you cannot help but bear; and so you will always find the cross. You will either have bodily pain or mental and spiritual affliction. Now God will leave you, again your fellow will provoke you; and what is more, you will often weigh heavy on yourself. There is neither remedy to free you nor comfort to ease you... For God will have you learn to endure affliction with total submission to himself and become more humble... You must endure with patience everywhere, if you would be at peace within, and earn the lasting crown.