Whoever wants to become my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mk. 8:34).
It is by the Cross of Christ alone that we are healed and saved. Our Lord makes the embrace of the Cross the condition for authentic discipleship: Whoever wants to become my disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. St. Paul the Apostle goes beyond the embrace of the Cross, for he says, but far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world (Gal. 6:14). This is the wisdom of the Saints who arrive at this conviction sometimes through their own experience of suffering or through the study of Sacred Scripture and the truths of our faith; as with the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas who wrote that the Passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives. One who arrived at this conviction is what Our Lord Himself defines as a fully trained disciple or one who is fully taught (Lk. 6:40).
Arriving at the conviction of the truth of these words entails growth; personal and spiritual maturity that characterizes a sober and serious approach to life, so that it may be lived with meaning and purpose; for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mk. 8:36) To fashion one’s life on the Passion of Our Lord is to recognize the existence and necessity of truth as a guiding principle in one’s life. Truth is not a matter of consensus nor is it determined by any one individual, either for himself or for others. Truth is objective. Recall the words of Our Lord to Pilate: For this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice (Jn. 18:38).