St. Nicholas Orthodox Church

Sunday of the Holy Cross

What does it mean to deny ourselves?…What does it mean to take up our cross?…

…Taking up our cross means courageously enduring difficult unseen labor, agony, and torment for the sake of the Gospels as we war with our own passions, with the sin that lives in us, with the spirits of evil who vehemently make war against us and franticly attack us when we resolve to cast off the yoke of sin, and submit ourselves to the yoke of Christ. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, says the holy Apostle Paul, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4–5). After gaining victory in this unseen but laborious warfare, the Apostle exclaimed, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

From St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), “Homily on the Third Sunday of Great Lent. On Carrying Your Cross.” The complete text of this sermon is available at orthochristian.com.