The cross and the fullness of love PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 October 2015 13:36

We have to understand this very well. Unless we love the cross, we can never say that we are loving enough. Of course, we have to qualify that assertion. It’s when we love the cross the way God wills it—the way Christ loves it—that we can really say that we are loving as we should, or loving with the fullness of love.

We have to be wary of our tendency to limit our loving to ways and forms that give us some benefits alone, be it material, moral or spiritual. While they are also a form of love, they are not yet the fullness of love.

They somehow are forms of love that have traces of self-interest. They are not total self-giving, completely rid of self-interest, which is what true love is. And if they are not corrected, if they are not oriented towards the fullness of love, they can occasion a lot of danger and worse anomalies.

Loving the cross the way Christ loved it is the ultimate of love. It is the love that is completely deprived of selfishness. It is total self-giving, full of self-abnegation. St. Paul described this kind of love in Christ when he said:

“Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2,6-8)

The cross, which is the symbol of all our sinfulness and the death that is the consequence of our sin, has not led God to hate us and to condemn us forever. Rather, it has moved God to love us with a love greater than that of creating us to be his image and likeness.

Yes, there is justice also involved, and there is punishment, divine anger and retribution always in play. But in the end, God is always moved to mercy and compassion for us, and this is actualized and personalized in God becoming man, Jesus Christ, who in the end offered his life on the cross as a supreme act of love for us.

That’s why he said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15,13) From these words we can derive the conclusion that Christ’s embracing his death on the cross is God’s supreme act of love for us.

And if we want to love the way God loves us, just as Christ commanded us to do in his new commandment, we cannot help but involve the cross, as symbol of our sinfulness and death, in our loving.

In short, to love as we should, to love with the love of God, with the fullness of love, we have to look for the cross always, and not just wait for it to come. It’s in this context that we can understand why Christ told us: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt 16,24)

These words are actually a most welcome piece of good news. They are not meant to be inhuman, to simply give us problems. They are meant to give us our true liberation, our true joy, given our wounded condition. They are meant to lead us to the full range of love—the love of God and not just any form of human love that is not inspired by God’s love.

We need to make some drastic adjustments in our understanding of love, in our attitudes, and the relevant practices and skills involved in this divine love. We should not be afraid of the cross. On the contrary, we have to look for it, in all its forms and expressions, with eagerness.

Loving with the cross of Christ makes our love spiritual and supernatural, a love that leads us to our eternal destination. It extricates our loving from the mere play of our passions and urges. It purifies and elevates our love without annulling its human, natural, physical and emotional dimensions.

If we find this love hard or seemingly impossible to do, then let’s go to Christ himself who said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11,28)

We have to strengthen our faith that insofar as God is concerned, he already has given us everything we need to be able to love the way he loves us through the cross.