“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me. Mark 8
The invitation of Jesus to deny oneself always seems rather daunting. And the root meaning of the Greek expression implies a radical turning away from something. Truly there can only be one good reason, one perfect reason to turn away from myself - Jesus. Once I become fascinated by the beauty, goodness and truth of who He is and what He wants for us, how could I not turn away from my too familiar mediocrity and attraction to anything less?
Small wonder that one of the favorite prayers of Saint Thérèse was - "Draw me," words taken from the Song of Songs - "Your name is a flowing perfume...Draw me after you! Let us run!" With Thérèse let us run after the Lord, forgetful of self, our eyes fixed on Him, drawn willingly into the mystery of joyfully carrying our own cross behind Him, our Lord and Master.
Andrea del Verrocchio, Christ and Saint Thomas, detail, bronze, 1483, Orsanmichele, Florence.