And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life/soul (τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ) will lose it; and whoever loses his life/soul for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life/soul? For what can a man give in return for his life/soul?’” (Mk 8: 34-37)

This doesn’t make much sense, this talk about “losing” my “life/soul” in order to “save” it, – does it? Well, it does, if I remember that our Lord distinguishes between two kinds of “life/soul”: 1. the kind we all have whether we want it or not, just by being born of our physical parents; and 2. The kind we can embrace “if we want to come after Him,” denying a self-isolated existence outside of Him, and joining Him on the life-giving journey of the Cross. “Truly, truly, I say to you,” He says on another occasion, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life/soul loses it, and he who hates his life/soul in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (Jn 12: 24-25)

So let me proceed now, having venerated His cross at this mid-point of Lent, onwards and forwards to the next half of the cross-carrying adventure towards Pascha. Let me “lose” some more, of that which is not good for me, that I might “bear much fruit” as God wills, as I walk through my immediate responsibilities in His light and lightness. “Thy will be done” with me today, O Lord, that I not “remain alone,” but “bear much fruit.”