Once you entered marriage or monasticism, that Sacrament becomes your personal cross. Like any other cross it will kill you, but that is not something to run away from, but something to embrace. That is the whole point of carrying a cross, that you die with Christ, so you may be resurrected with Christ. When one enters a Sacrament, one changes for ever. Sacraments change us, they alter our spiritual being. We are no longer the persons we were before entering the Sacrament.
It is a horrid temptation to look back and imagine that you could have made ‘better’ choices. One can waste one’s whole life reassessing one’s choices. One can waste one’s whole life ‘trying out’ one cross after the other, carrying each for a while before dropping it to try another. By the end, none of these crosses will become your own and none will kill you, because you have thrown them too soon. You have valued your earthly life too much, and you have managed to save it from all the crosses that may have crushed you. You have succeeded not to lose your life and soul for Christ – but is that really a victory?
Should a seed be thrown in the earth and not rot, it remains alone and will never bring fruition. It will never lose its ‘self’, but it will lose its potential – always a seed, never a flower, never a fruit. It seems to me that most of us today are like that; most of us ‘succeed’ to protect our lives from the crosses around us, and most of us die without ever bringing forth the spiritual flowers and the fruit we carry within ourselves. We may save these earthly identities, but we risk losing our real Selves; we may save our life on Earth, but we risk losing our Life in Christ.
Without entering death, one will never reach the Resurrection. And what is a Christian without the hope of Resurrection? Death by Cross is the only Gate to the Resurrection. One must first enter this gate to get to the Resurrection.
Lift up your cross – be it marriage, be it monasticism – and follow Christ every day. In our patience, we shall be saved.