HOLY WEEK: SOCIAL DISTANCING DOES NOT DISTANCE US FROM THE CROSS

The pandemic does not make it possible for us to participate physically in the Holy Week liturgies and the sacraments. What an experience of the Cross it is, and what an invitation to see things in a new light!

From the Cross, our Savior reminds us that he is present every time we read the Scriptures, and every time we consciously live this promise with someone else: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am present among them” (Matthew 18,20). The persons taking this promise seriously, DO have the presence of Jesus among them – even if separated by many miles and even continents. Jesus has promised always to be present in this way if we remember to allow him to. This is one way of living the Cross with those who suffer today.

Saint Eugene recalled:

Can I forget the bitter tears that the sight of the cross brought streaming from my eyes one Good Friday?

Eugene de Mazenod, Retreat Journal, December 1814, EO XV n.130

“How could we get deeper into this salvatorian spirituality of ours? Let me mention three ways.   First.  Someone inspired by St. Eugene will not be afraid of the cross. As true Oblates we will look openly into the face of the suffering and crucified Christ. This is done not so much by pictures and movies as by reading the Scriptures, experiencing Christ’s presence in the sacraments and looking into the face of the poorest of our brothers and sisters.

W. Steckling OMI, OMI Information n 462, Rome, February 2007.


“Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people.”

Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 270.

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One Response to HOLY WEEK: SOCIAL DISTANCING DOES NOT DISTANCE US FROM THE CROSS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    At first reading I found myself highlighting the phrases that seem to leap from the pages of the screen; like little arrows they entered my heart, and touching my heart.
    Even the title: “social distancing…”- it is not so much about me keeping myself safe from others but rather about “keeping others safe from me”.

    “Someone inspired by St. Eugene will not be afraid of the cross. As true Oblates we will look openly into the face of the suffering and crucified Christ. This is done not so much by pictures and movies as by reading the Scriptures, experiencing Christ’s presence in the sacraments and looking into the face of the poorest of our brothers and sisters.” Looking at Jesus on the Cross can be disturbing, uncomfortable, painful… To look up at Jesus on the cross is to enter into the experience of Jesus as lived today. “As true Oblates we will look openly into the face of the suffering and crucified Christ.”

    Social distancing will keeping us from finding comfort and safety in and with each other – no kisses, no hugs. This Good Friday we will not be able to find distractions in others. We will however be able to be present to Jesus on the cross in a new way, a deeper way; it may be somewhat uncomfortable, lonely, painful…

    I think of how when I am hurting, struggling, in need of comfort – I turn to the cross, to my beautiful little cross that I wear at all times. I find solace and comfort as I touch it, lift it to my lips or hold it before my eyes. Have mercy on me Lord I say silently. The urge that brings me to this is quite unconscious, it is a part of me. Imagine turning to Jesus on the cross…

    My thoughts are a little disjointed this morning as they flow from one thought to another – more of a response than a reaction to what has been shared with us here this morning. Social distancing may well be a grace and an invitation allowing us to be present to and with Jesus on the cross; a new way of looking at it for some – a deeper and more conscious way of entering into for others.

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