O, thrice-blessed wood of the Cross,
O, life-bearing wood of the Cross,
O, God-bearing Wood of the Cross,
Show us the path to salvation
The cross of life signifies the sorrows, the burdens of our earthly life which each one of us must overcome. As they say “for some the cross is for salvation, for others to their doom.”
Christ was crucified between two thieves. For one of them, the cross was unto his salvation; for the other, the cross was the weapon of his final death.
The cross of life is just the same. In order for it to work towards our salvation, the Lord set down only one condition, but without it, we cannot bear the cross. The words of the Lord are well known to us: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
First of all: in order to bear all your sorrows without grumbling, all the burdens, all of life’s misfortunes, you must deny oneself, that is, deny your own desires, yearnings, refuse your pride, deny your identity, and deem yourself worthy of all punishment. Whoever endures all of life’s sorrows with such an attitude, for them these sorrows will bring salvation, and for those who do not have patience, but grumble, these sorrows will bring not salvation but death.
But the fact is that no one will escape sorrows. They will exist one way or the other for each one of us. If man only rejects himself, for him these sorrows will not be a burden, they will be easy to bear.
This is the sole means for the sorrows of life, for the cross of life, to be easy to bear; for this cross to bring salvation and lead us into the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Protopriest Rostislav Gan
(excerpted from the thesis of Deacon Gabriel Makarov, student of Holy Trinity Seminary)