Begin with the Prayer of Abandonment.
A few weeks ago, on March 25, we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her assent to God’s plan, by which she was to become the Theotokos . . . the God Bearer. Her “yes” set a series of events in motion that would change the whole human story, making us not just friends but children of God.
Today we celebrate a “yes” of a very different kind: The moment when the Son of God gave his yes — freely and without equivocation — to God’s redemptive plan. It was the ultimate gesture of love, offered for the benefit of a group of people who had demonstrated time and again unprecedented disregard for such unmerited divine favor.
Now, the question comes back to us: What are we willing to sacrifice? When we are called to take up our cross and follow, exactly what form will that burden take?
As you consider these questions (as today’s challenge), consider the words of Amy Carmichael in her spiritual classic “Calvary Love” (an excerpt of this book may be found here):
If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choice, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I am soft to myself and slide comfortably into self-pity and self-sympathy; If I do not by the grace of God practice fortitude, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I myself dominate myself, if my thoughts revolve round myself, if I am so occupied with myself I rarely have “a heart at leisure from itself,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If, the moment I am conscious of the shadow of self crossing my threshold, I do not shut the door, and keep that door shut, then I know nothing of Calvary love. …
If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God.