To carry our personal cross is the embrace our share in the trials and tribulations of life. It is not about the exultation of pain to gain favor and glory from God but rather acceptance of the need to give ourselves to others in our daily living. Self-giving when done in love defines the true meaning of carrying our cross.
People will have different crosses to carry. It can be in the form of sickness, a difficult member of the family, material insufficiency, and other things and circumstances that make living life less smooth than we would want it to be. Crosses are the challenges we face that could either break us or make us stronger.
In the context of the Catholic faith, we are enjoined to carry our personal cross with unwavering faith that we will not only survive but also come out better after difficulties have been hurdled. God does not want bad things to happen to us but He allows this to happen as a result of our choices. The big and small personal crosses we hurdle are preparing us for greater crosses that will not only involve ourselves but others.
Truly following Jesus requires us to “deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him”. This is not an easy thing to do but it is the only way we can faithfully follow. We have to remove the focus on ourselves for us to be able to understand what following Jesus would entail.
There are no two crosses that are exactly the same but we need to avoid comparing with others. We will never really know just how heavy or light the crosses of others are. Our personal cross has been made specifically for us and no other. This means that God trusts that we will be able to carry it and fulfill our mission here on earth.