Joseph de Veuster, a Belgian missionary priest, had a brother who was called to be a missionary in Hawaii. When his brother became ill, Joseph, known in his church as Father Damien, went instead to minister to a colony of lepers. Preaching to them each morning and every afternoon, he would begin every message by saying, “My fellow brethren.”
One day, as he was preparing to preach, boiling water spilled on his feet, and he noticed that he couldn’t feel any pain. When it happened again, he knew in his heart that he, too, had leprosy.
The next morning, this priest began his message by saying, “My fellow lepers.”
Jesus identified with us. He became a man and lived as a man, with all the needs of a man. He had to sleep and eat; He wept and had His heart broken.
In losing our lives, we find Christ’s life. It is a life of surrender and identification with those who are diseased, those who are desperate, and those who are in need. It is a life lived at the Cross.