REFLECTION: The cross as good news PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 September 2014 11:18

WE have just celebrated the feasts of the Exaltation or Triumph of the Holy Cross (September 14) and of Our Lady of Sorrows (September 15). It’s a good occasion to remind ourselves and to spread the good news about the cross, that is, the cross of Christ and not just any cross, usually the cross we invent and inflict on ourselves.

I believe it is a most opportune and urgent move to do since many of us are still held hostage by a very negative if not meaningless conception of the cross. We need to get liberated from that predicament.

Obviously, the cross in any form will always involve pain and suffering. Some of them will be physical, others emotional, still others psychological. We may also classify them as moral and spiritual. They can have different manifestations.

But all these pain and suffering and everything else that goes into the making of a cross already have acquired a positive value. They purify us, they strengthen and mature us.

The cross heals what is sick and wounded, resurrects what is dead, forgives what is sinful.  There is no evil in man and in the world that cannot be handled properly by the cross. That’s why we should not feel at all hopeless when we find ourselves in a deep mess, often created by our own selves, our own foolishness.

The cross symbolizes all evil and sin, and with Christ embracing it and dying on it, it itself transforms from being a tree of death to a tree of life. It effects our redemption. We should not be afraid of the cross.

Most importantly, the cross identifies us with Christ and unites us with him in his supreme act of love for us. That is, Christ assuming all our sinfulness and dying to them through the cross and later resurrecting.

In short, all the pain and suffering involved in the cross becomes the very substance of love. It’s this kind of love that has converted our sin and all the suffering and pain it involves, including death itself, into our way of salvation.

Again, we can say that all the pain and suffering involved in the cross are what would make us “another Christ, if not Christ himself.” It’s a win-win deal that we should not miss to enter.

That is why, it’s important that we look at the cross from the point of view of our faith. It has to be a theological understanding and attitude, not just physical, emotional, psychological, etc. That’s when the cross can truly become a good news for us, and not just a sign of terror and fear.

From there, let us learn to carry the cross...with elegance as much as possible. Though we will always remain human and are always subject to the laws of nature, there’s also such thing as grace that can somehow enable us to find joy and relief even in the grip of pain.

We just need to find the appropriate ways, training ourselves—our physical, mental and emotional aspects—to bear the cross without compromising our ultimate moral and spiritual health.

There are different ways of bearing the cross. Aside from bearing it directly until death, we can somehow also bear it by using certain techniques as prudence dictates. Let’s remember that Christ himself told us to be shrewd and clever as serpents while remaining simple as doves.

We can choose, for example, to ignore the pain and just focus on what we are supposed to be doing at a given moment. The idea is that the cross should not as much as possible hinder our duty of the moment. If ever, that cross should sharpen our sense of duty.

Others try to inject humor and wit into some persistent difficulty in their relationship with others or in dealing with a particular issue. This may look like escapism or sweet-lemoning, but the real purpose is not to be caught in a dead-end, but rather to find a way to move on in spite of that difficulty.

We have to help one another to carry our crosses, giving good example for others to follow or to feel edified, as well as timely and effective pieces of advice derived from our personal experience or from some proven knowledge.

If all of these tricks are carried out with supernatural faith, with the right intention and with moral means, then they can be holy and pleasing to God. The cross can become a vital part of our day, and is indeed a good news!