Answering the Call to Follow
Have you experienced the reality of Jesus’ words, “Take up your cross and follow me”? And are you able to recognize times in your life where you experienced suffering that led to redemption and resurrection?
If you wondered where I was last weekend, I spent four days with three other friends who joined the Sisters of Divine Providence 53 years ago on September 5. We have made this an annual event the past four years, knowing that there is a richness in sharing our experiences of life in very meaningful ways. We prayed together, laughed together, cried together and, of course, we ate together. We talked and talked—sharing joys and sorrows, hopes and dreams, disappointments and newness. One evening, one of my friends asked each of us to share our responses to several questions.
- When have you experienced profound awe at something?
- When have you experienced suffering that led to growth? Who helped you to recognize how the suffering formed you to be more compassionate or merciful?
- What brings you the most joy in your life?
This discussion required much vulnerability, profound trust and a willingness to hold the experiences without judgment or comparison. In the sharing we came to love each other even more, to be grateful for our shared lives, and to recognize how God, known to us as Providence, has always been calling us to follow, to take up our crosses, and to grow in understanding how each of us is redeemed and experiences new life.
And then last night at the ACTS Core meeting, Howard Snarr, our facilitator, shared poetry that captured the essence not only of our weekend, but also provides a wonderful reflection on the Scripture for this weekend, especially the invitation to “take up your cross and follow.” Here is the poem: