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June 27, 2021 | The 23rd Times

By June 23, 2021No Comments

Embracing the Cross in Union with Christ

by Constance Hull – Catholic Exchange

The closer Christ draws us to Himself on the Cross the more we come to understand that suffering—along with affliction, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, and loneliness—are not only promised to us as His disciples, but necessary. It is on the Cross, crucified with Christ, that we are stripped bare of everything we are attached to in this life. It is there that we confront the awesome, strange, and paradoxical love of God that differs so much from our own.

We think that suffering is the greatest evil. While it was not a part of God’s original design for human beings, it is now necessary to set us free from the tyrannical rule of our own egos and the snares of the Enemy.

It is from the Cross that we learn to love our enemies and to forgive those who reject us and betray us. It is from the Cross that we come to see, as Christ sees, that most people are unaware of what they actually do to the people around them.

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It is on the Cross that we are able to confront the darkness that lurks within our own hearts because it is only through the light of the Cross that this darkness can be expelled. It is there within all of us. We delude ourselves if we think that we are not as bad as “them.” Under the right circumstances, we are all capable of great darkness. It is only by God’s grace that we do not fall into greater temptations or the temptations that plague others.

The Cross shows us our weaknesses. It brings us to our limits because it is only from there that we can surrender our desire for control and to work out our salvation on our own. It is through the Cross that Christ shows us that He is the only one who can pick us up, lead us, heal us, and carry us when needed. He shows us that we must depend on Him for everything. He is the only one who can lift us out of the dirt when we fall face first to the ground because of the weight of our own cross and sins.

The path to holiness cannot be trod in comfort and safety. It must be walked along the Way of the Cross united to Christ in the company of Our Lady of Sorrows who suffers with us and the St. Simon of Cyrenes and St. Veronicas who are sent by God to help us along the way. If we persevere on the path to holiness, each step along the way of the Cross leads us to a greater freedom that can only be found at Calvary.

It is on Calvary where we become united with the Eternal Bridegroom and are called to surrender all of our being to Him. To trust in Him despite the agony of the path we must trod in order to reach perfect union with Him. Over time as we approach Him and draw closer to Him, we discover that there is an ever increasing lightness and sweetness to the burdens. This is because the more we are stripped away of the things of this life, the freer we become to love Him and to love others.

This is the mystery of the Way of the Cross. We can only unload our burdens if we accept that this is the only way to Him; if we accept His invitation to join Him at Calvary. It is crucified with Christ on the Cross that we will find our true identity, our freedom, and the ability to love as He loves. It is on the Cross that we truly forgive those who have hurt us. It is on the Cross that we find the ultimate meaning of our lives and the joy of eternal life. Love can only be found on the Cross. There is no other way.

Called to the Cross

We are all called to the Cross. Don’t flee! The rewards of the Cross are far greater than anything of this life, but we must embrace it entirely in love. Holding nothing back. We must become like Christ: arms outstretched, hands and feet pierced, wearing a crown of thorns, pierced by God’s love, with eyes raised to the Father. It is in our own crucifixion united to His that we too can be poured out in kenotic love for the salvation of souls. This is how we become radiant lights in the darkness of this Fallen world. Don’t run. The Resurrection can only come after enduring the Cross.

Today on this Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, as we celebrate the Cross Our Lord died upon for our salvation, let us ask Him for the strength, fortitude, faith, hope, and love to walk the Way of the Cross during each moment of our lives so that by His grace we may attain our eternal victory!