By Fr. Roy Cimagala
ON the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on September 14, we are reminded that our redemption can only be achieved through the cross of Christ. That’s where all our sins are forgiven, where God’s mercy is poured on us and the fullness of redemption is given to us.
We are told of this wonderful Good News in the gospel of the feast where it is said that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn 3,16-17)
We have to understand then that the cross of Christ is indispensable to us. We need to look for it everyday so we can find it. More than that, we have to learn to love it, embracing it in the best way we can. The appropriate motto we can have in this regard should be something like this: In joy, there is no day for me without the cross.
The cross should not be viewed simply as something negative, a problem in life, a source of pain and suffering. It can be all these, but we should never fail to realize that at the end, it is what gives us our ultimate joy.
We have to actively look for the cross everyday. Usually it would just be the small inconveniences we encounter in our daily routine, bearing it with joy and aplomb. It can also simply be making those little self-denials in terms of food and comfort, or in terms of our attachment to our preferences, views and opinions.
There can also be those extraordinary forms of the cross, as when we suffer major problems, failures, crises, or when we are unfairly offended and yet we choose to keep quiet and just bear the injustice inflicted on us.
Let’s strengthen our conviction that it is in the cross that we can most intimately identify ourselves with Christ who shows his greatest love for us by offering his life on the cross for us. This truth of our faith should always be in our mind to convince ourselves that it is always worth it to suffer the cross of Christ in our life.
Let’s remember that that cross not only brings about our own salvation, our own purification and strengthening of our spiritual life. It also helps in the salvation, purification and strengthening of the spiritual life of others.
The cross can represent in the best way what Christ said about the paradoxes of Christian life: that it is when we die that we live, when we lose that we win, when we give that we receive, that we empty ourselves in order to be filled. The cross, in other words, offers us the best deal in life.
Thus, we really have to know why the cross is essential and indispensable in our life. And by knowing the purpose of the cross, we mean that we need to refer everything in our life to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ where the cross plays a crucial role.
Yes, that’s right. We need to refer everything to the cross because that is how everything in our life, whether good or bad, big or small, spiritual or material, would find its true and ultimate meaning and purpose!