It’s not a word normally associated with our Savior, but when I think about Jesus’ Passion the one word that comes to my mind is gumption.
To me, gumption is a combination of courage, spunk, guts, and stamina. I can see all of that in the way our Lord withstood all that he had to endure – ridicule, false accusations, bogus trial, beatings, spitting, scourging, carrying the cross and finally being nailed to a tree.
It was all terrible, terrible, suffering. Yet, he never gave up. Not even when he fell once, twice, and then a third time. I heard once in a homily that Jesus fell far more than just three times but that the number three was used symbolically to signify the multiple times he’d fallen.
I believe it.
While he was yet with them, Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Mt 16:24)
He wasn’t only referring to carrying it, he also was referring to falling with it.
Jesus fell on the road to Calvary and he knows that you will fall also as you make your way along your private Calvary. It’s inevitable. What’s more, he knows that you’ll fall not once, not twice, not thrice, but countless times.
Each time, he wants you to get up as he did.
“Take up your cross and follow me” means take it up, fall with it, and get up with it again and again and again.
But, as you do that, remember that you are following Christ, not staking out on your own. You’re relying on his grace and power to keep you going rather than your own volition. You’re following him step by arduous step, and you are not alone. He is with you.
It takes courage, strength, and conviction to carry a cross, but it takes gumption to fall and get up again with it.
Our Lord will give you the gumption you need. All you have to do is ask for it.