If anyone wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross (daily) and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it (will keep it for eternal life.) For what profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, John 12:25,26.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. One leads to a field of pleasures for every sense and gladness of the heart. The other, wanting wear for it is dark and mysterious there, leads to Christ’s homeland and a cross. Every morning I awake anew and stand in front of this same crossroad, the little me inside beseeching my legs to take the road less travelled by.
And I cry, but a cross lies there! Why would I?
Every day the same argument.
Trust me, it says. The secret of the Mark is that when stabbed by a well-aimed arrow, it rejoices all the more. Rejoice too therefore in your persecutions small and great, in your poverty and loneliness. Follow Him down the mysterious path today.
But look, I answer fast, at my friends over there! See them dancing in the sunshine, let me go to that field of sun drenched flowers to breathe its lusty air and to laugh.
And sorry I could not travel both.
Being one traveler long I stood.
Looking down the darker one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth, mine eyes could perceive that cross with me-and-He hanging there, misunderstood, disparaged, desolate, and finally, like the Mark, pierced to see if I am still alive.
Does this dark path offer martyrdom to me, a thorny crown of glory? Will fasting help me prepare to walk this road less travelled by?
And its little head nodded, eyes closed. Walk slowly away from yourself in fields of flowers and come and share the life of the Mark, who has the power to heal the sick and raise the dead, who walks on water to go to where He needs to be. It is He who the Father hears and grants every wish. Die to yourself for Him. There is work to be done on this planet of light and darkness. Eden to restore, battles with demons and decay to win. The army is busy building bridges; go and help them.
Every day I stop at this road diverged.
[Dear Reader, Please note the progression. First Jesus Christ asks His followers to be willing to acknowledge Him, then not to be offended by Him, not to be ashamed of Him, and finally to be willing to die for Him. Full and total commitment is not an option. This is the Mark of a martyr- saint who is willing to lose his or her life for His sake. No one knows if martyrdom will be demanded. All we can do is train for it by practicing self-denial.)