"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me," according to the Gospel words of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Apart from the cross, there is no Christianity--only a system of moral philosophy based upon nothing more than human reason and logic and therefore powerless to save the fallen human race from the pit of hopeless despair. It is only through the cross that we can hope to be delivered from the destructive power of sin, death and the Devil.
If Jesus Christ is not the eternal Son of God begotten of the Father before the ages, having assumed our flesh through the pure blood of the Virgin that by His life giving death and Resurrection He might redeem us from the ancient curse, then our entire Faith--from beginning to end--can only be considered a cruel sham, merely one religion among many, an ultimately futile attempt to make sense of the chaos, corruption and absurdity of a world seemingly consigned to senseless suffering and destined for nothing more than the eternal darkness of the abyss of nonbeing.
It is only through the shining witness of the saints of God--those men and woman who have acquired through the power of the cross the fullness of the Holy Spirit that was sent down upon the Church on the day of Pentecost--that the revelation of God's eternal Kingdom in this broken and fallen world is made manifest.
To be a saint means to be fully illumined by the grace of the Holy and Life Creating Spirit, to be transfigured by the uncreated Light of God, that we might become gods by grace, partakers of the divine nature. This, indeed, is the goal and destiny of every Christian--though few attain it in this earthly life. Nevertheless, we are all called to be saints, which is why--according to St. Seraphim of Sarov--the whole aim of the Christian life is to acquire the Holy Spirit of God. How this is accomplished depends upon the unique talents and dispositions God has given to each individual soul. Upon the path of salvation set forth by our Lord, it is clear that one size does not fit all. Nevertheless, it is only by means of enduring with patience the pain and suffering He Himself endured for our salvation that we may hope to attain the fullness of eternal life in God's eternal Kingdom.