HOLY WEEK: WE ARE NEVER FAR FROM THE CROSS

As we look at our troubled and suffering world, 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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1 Response to HOLY WEEK: WE ARE NEVER FAR FROM THE CROSS

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “…we will look openly into the face of the suffering and crucified Christ.”

    I remember years ago when I was trying to sober up, how one day I looked out the window and noticed the mountains and how beautiful they were. I had looked at those mountains for 30 years and yet I had not really seen them, had not allowed myself to be touched by their beauty.

    “Someone inspired by St. Eugene will not be afraid of the cross.” I have never thought of being afraid of the cross but as I reflect I realise there have been times when a part of me has been afraid of being touched by the whole idea of the cross, of what it might represent.

    “…when his eyes met mine.” Eugene’s Good Friday experience which changed him. He was no longer living his life for himself. Indeed he spent the rest of his life seeing through the eyes of the crucified Saviour. And loving with every beat of his heart.
    The image that comes to mind is not one of holy piety with halos around our heads and beatific smiles on our faces. It can be raw and ugly, messy, painful and oh so human.

    A love so great that he gave up his life for us. That kind of looking openly into the face of the suffering and crucified Christ. Real and alive. I remember sitting before the cross and experiencing that I was holding, cradling Jesus from the cross and kissing his wounds, and he was dirty and in agony and yet for a moment all that I experienced was being able to love him in the midst of raw pain and death and all that accompanies it. My own experience of “when his eyes met mine.” That God should allow me that moment with him on the cross. As Frank described, we “DO have the presence of Jesus among us.” Indeed “this is one way of living the Cross with those who suffer today.”

    It is good to carry our own experiences of the cross with us during Holy Week, without hiding or glossing over them; without being afraid of them or the cross. With passion…

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