The Cross of Christ is our only Hope! The more we look at the Cross how much life-giving lessons we draw for our personal, communitarian and ecclesial lives!
Through the saints the Lord can teach us a great deal about the Cross. For you and me Christ’s Cross is a school of patience. St Thomas Aquinas tells us:
If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth.
Christ’s Cross is the school of Divine love. St Ignatius of Loyola teaches us: It is not the finest wood that feeds the fire of Divine love, but the wood of the Cross.
Christ’s Cross unites us, with our crosses, deeply with it. St John Eudes says: The crosses with which our path through life is strewn associate us with Jesus in the mystery of His crucifixion.
Christ’s Cross is our remedy when things do not go our way at all. St John of the Cross encourages us: Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.
Christ’s Cross teaches us that real love happens when we suffer for those whom we love. Thus St John Bosco guides us: The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.
Christ’s Cross is the refuge wherein we draw the flames of love and rivers of tears to console Jesus in his sufferings. St Paul of the Cross states: O souls! seek a refuge, like pure doves, in the shadow of the crucifix. There mourn the Passion of your divine Spouse, and drawing from your hearts flames of love and rivers of tears, make of them a precious balm with which to anoint the wounds of your Saviour.
Christ’s Cross is the living testimony of Divine Love for humanity. St Paul of the Cross upholds: The Passion of Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love. The greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love.
Christ’s Cross is the ever blessing eternal substitute for life’s trials. Again, St Paul of the Cross instructs: Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!
Christ’s Cross is our resurrection not only in the life to come but even in this life. St John Paul II gives us this extraordinary insight when he says: There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us. And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world.
Christ’s Cross is our glorification. St Maximus of Turin hammers down this point when he says: Our Savior’s passion raises men and women from the depths, lifts them up from the earth, and sets them in the heights.
Here is the wisdom that supports more and more what Jesus told us, as his disciples, in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16: If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done (Matt 16:24-27).
How much life transforming lessons can we draw from the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap