Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and the shame of the cross for our redemption. Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. This prayer speaks of the daily crosses we are called to bear and then it prays for courage to lift that cross and follow Jesus. Crosses can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We often are called upon to suffer and run a risk for someone else. The recent COVID pandemic, now an epidemic, demonstrated just how much such crosses require courage of us. Medical professionals who donned the gear and enter the rooms of people sick and dying with this disease, teachers who were asked to enter classrooms, and even the checker at a grocery store who stood behind a plexiglass shield and wondered who among the constant stream of costumers was possibly infectious. Often these people did not know what they could do to protect themselves and the family with whom they lived. Crosses come in many shapes and sizes. Even if the nurse who walks into the room of a COVID patient is not in the susceptible population, she probably has someone in her life who is. She worries about what this means for that loved one. The teacher preparing for the day with students or the checker who clocks into work is in the same situation. The pandemic revealed just how each human being needs a dose of courage to face what that day will bring. And so, we pray for courage. It took courage for Jesus to look calmly on the mob of men whom Judas led to arrest him. He had prayed for this cup to pass from him. It did not and he submitted to the Father’s will for us and for our forgiveness. It took courage not to call down those 12 legions of angels who stood at the ready, waiting for his command. Jesus has courage, Jesus knows courage, and Jesus gives courage. When you are confronted with a cross, pray for courage. Jesus has plenty, and He is willing to share.