Actions speak louder than words

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, universally known for her dedication to the poorest of the poor, once said that “being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

As Christians we are called by Jesus to take up our cross and follow him. And, as Christians, we often struggle to understand exactly what Jesus is calling us to do. We hear The Word proclaimed but fail to comprehend what has been spoken.

When Jesus tells us to take up your cross we think of the daily struggles and difficulties we face each day—sickness and injury, financial burdens, failing relationships, overwhelming demands for what little time and energy we have left at the end of the day. While we certainly consider these crosses, they are not the cross that Jesus is calling us to take up. Our personal crosses are just that, personal, crosses that we must deal with through the simple act of living. Jesus is calling us to imitate him when he took up his cross to save us and to free us from sin. We must take up a cross for the benefit, not of ourselves, but for others. We take up the cross when we give of ourselves, out of love, for someone else.

When we help someone, we — if only for a moment — deny our own importance and acknowledge the importance and the needs of someone else. Whenever we help someone who is suffering from the lack of compassion and love, by reaching out and touching their lives we are giving a portion of our life to them. That is the cross that Jesus calls us to take up. To give a few minutes to help someone is to give a little bit of your life for others.

Jesus tells us to follow him but to follow him does not mean to walk blithely behind like sheep nor does it imply that we should match him step-by-step. We are called to follow him through our actions, to seek the hidden, love the unloved, embrace the unwanted, and find value in the marginalized. We are called to follow Jesus, to give some measure of our lives for the benefit of others. We are called to take up our cross and, like Simon of Cyrene, to help lift the crosses of our brothers and sisters who are struggling with their own.

Jesus calls us to take up the cross, love one another, and follow him. I think he is telling us that actions speak louder than words.

What size is your cross?

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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