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  • Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross 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. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’

  • “O Cross, so long desired and now offered to my soul's aspiration, joyfully and confidently I approach you. Receive me with gladness, I who am the disciple of him who hung from your arms...” Thus, [according to tradition], spoke Saint Andrew as he saw from afar the cross erected for his martyrdom. From whence did so amazing a joy and exultation come to this man? From whence so great a constancy in so weak a being? From whence did this man hold firm with so spiritual a mind, so fervent a charity and so strong a will? Don't imagine he drew such great courage from himself; this was the perfect gift coming down from the Father of lights (Jas 1,17), from he who alone works wonders. This was the holy Spirit coming to assist his weakness and flooding his heart with a love strong as death and even stronger than death (Sg 8,6). Please God we too may have a share in this Spirit today! For if the struggle for conversion is painful for us at the moment, if watching in prayer bores us, it is solely because of our spiritual laziness. If the Holy Spirit were with us he would surely come to assist our weakness. What he did for Saint Andrew in the face of the cross and death, he would do for us too: taking away the painful aspect of the hard work of conversion, he would make it desirable and even pleasant...! My brethren, let us seek out this Spirit, let us put all our care into acquiring it, or into possessing it more fully if we already have it. For “whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ” (Rm 8,9). “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit that is from God” (1Cor 2,12)... So we should take up our cross with Saint Andrew, or rather with him whom he followed, our Lord and Savior. The reason for his joy was that he was not just dying with him but like him and that, united so closely to his death, he would reign with him... For our salvation lies in this cross.