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Saturday, 02 September 2017 12:00



AND of death. If we believe in Christ and follow what he has taught and shown us, we will realize that there is nothing to be afraid of suffering and death, and all the other negative things that can mark our life.

He bore them himself and converted them into our way for our own salvation. Yes, even death which is the ultimate evil that can befall us, an evil that is humanly insoluble. With Christ’s death, the curse of death has been removed. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15,54-55)

So, we just have to be sport and cool about the whole reality of suffering and death. What we need to do is to follow Christ in his attitude toward them. For Christ, embracing suffering and ultimately death, is the expression of his greatest love for us. We have to enter into the dynamic of this divine logic and wisdom so we can lose that fear of suffering and death.

Thus, 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 a 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)

You can just imagine what we have to go through to develop this kind of love. We obviously can only do that if we are vitally united with Christ, if we have God’s grace. Outside of that, there’s no way we can attain that kind of love.

Aside from grace, we have to make an effort to seek the cross, not just wait for it to come to us. 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: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (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.