On a morning cool with the impending fall, I bundled into a hoodie and set out down the lonely gravel road, the dogs and cats trailing behind me. I clutched the red crystal drops of a rosary in my right hand. I spoke the prayers aloud; I prayed the mysteries within.

It was not merely the pearl-gray sky, the dying cropland, that seized my heart with sorrow, for I was praying the sorrowful mysteries. I was reflecting on all I have given to the Lord thus far in my life—and I realized that my small heroic moments amount to nothing compared to what He gave me as He suffered agony among the olives, suffered beneath the lash, suffered the cruelest crown, suffered as He fell again and again beneath a cross that should have been mine, suffered as the blood flowed from His body as He hung naked before sinners.

I was struck by the raw truth that I have not given enough to my God. And I realized I am not called to give more to Him . . . I am called to give everything.

I don’t know what this will entail in my life. It may mean being far from those I love, perhaps even giving up those I love. It may mean being little, unrecognized, unappreciated. It may mean laboring in the vineyard without living to see the fruit. It may mean darkness. But I do know with certainty that it will mean boundless joy, deep-rooted peace, and ultimate fulfillment as I empty myself to be filled by Him.

Because with Christ, every cross leads to resurrection.

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