REFLECTION: We need to seek the cross PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 December 2014 13:14

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

That’s simply because without the cross, thereÕs no other way but for us to get spoiled. Our sense of freedom and of what is good, right and fair would get unhinged from its proper foundation, and would fall easy prey to the blind impulses of our flesh, the deceptive allurements of the world, and the wiles of the devil.

The cross is where we find Christ, and Christ completing and perfecting his work of human redemption. It is the instrument of our salvation, the tree of life that counters the tree of death. No wonder that he commands us to carry the cross: ÒIf any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Ó(Mt 16,24)

Christ’s cross is the effective counterbalance of our  freedom, which can swing in any which way. It keeps our freedom in the  orbit of truth and charity that can only come from God, our creator and father.

It heals what is wounded, cures what is sick in us, especially our tendency to be lazy and complacent. It makes us humble and simple, protecting us from the dangers of pride, bigotry, conceit and self-righteousness.

It assumes all our sins, mistakes and other stupidities, and atones for them, repairing what they damage, making up for whatever we ourselves cannot anymore resolve humanly. It also serves to strengthen us, making us more resistant to the different evils of this world. It purifies us, and deepens our knowledge and wisdom, widens our perspectives and compassion It pushes us to where we ought to go but usually do not like to. ItÕs a stimulus for growth in all aspects of our life, goading us on the road toward human and Christian maturity.

Above all, the cross is the strongest proof of love. It somehow captures the whole range of love which is not contented only with giving and sharing, but also of suffering for the loved one. It is the grand school of mercy.

The good effects of the Christ’s cross are abundant. They are actually beyond accounting, because the dignity proper to us as well as our capacity to do evil for which the cross serves as a foil, are also beyond accounting. In short, it has many mysterious good effects.

We actually need the cross more than we need air. That’s  why we have to train ourselves to love the cross, seeking it actively and not waiting for it to come. Knowing the way we are, with our wounded condition, this is the proper attitude to take toward the cross.

But we have to make sure that we have the right understanding of it. We have to be wary of the reductionist if not perverted attitudes toward the cross. Sad to say, the world today is also full of doctrines and ideologies that promote such attitudes. So we have to be always watchful and discerning, frequently rectifying our intentions, promptly correcting ourselves when we notice we have strayed from the right path.

We can start by taking advantage of the constant opportunities to embrace the cross in the usual events of our day. We should not eat without including an element of sacrifice, for example. Whatever we like doingÑour interests, our sports and hobbies, etc.Ñshould be accompanied with some forms of mortification.

It may just be a matter of self-discipline in terms of following a schedule, even if not having one does not make much of a difference. It could just be a matter of guarding our senses, purifying our imagination and memory, struggling to smile and to say some nice words even in the midst of some contradictions. There are endless possibilities.

Or it could be taking coffee without sugar, bread without butter, taking more of what we don’t like and less of what we like. Or taking up some physical exercises especially when we tend to lead a very sedentary lifestyle.

It is through these that we make ourselves ready to face the big challenges, trialsÑin other words, the big crossesÑof our life. It is through these that we keep ourselves identified with the Christ on the cross, full of love, understanding and mercy.

We should also see to it that our seeking and loving the cross should make us more loving and understanding towards others. If that is not so, then we are seeking and loving the cross wrongly. And again, sad to say, cases like this are also plenty. We have to seek the cross properly and abidingly, but with naturalness.