Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross


Feast of the Triumph of the Cross
Phil 2,6-11

This beautiful feast is precious to all Franciscans whose special joy is to contemplate Jesus Crucified.  St. Clare exhorted her friend, St. Agnes of Prague, to meditate always on the mysteries of Christ’s holy Passion.  It was here that Jesus completed the self- emptying that He began in His Incarnation when, although He was God, He took the form of a servant.  In His Passion, He became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  St. Paul tells us that Jesus “emptied Himself”.  Only He, in the strength of His Divine Person, could completely empty Himself.  For the rest of us, we do our best by asceticism, prayer, penance, and faithfulness to our duty to become an empty vessel for God to fill with His love.  But no matter how hard we try, by our own efforts we can only go so far.  Even our efforts aided by grace are not enough.  At the end of the day, we always find at least a bit of ego left at the bottom of our hearts that infects with selfishness even our best actions.  But in His gracious Providence, the Father takes pity on our weakness and sends us the Cross.  Some trying circumstance, some unforeseen sorrow, some incredible pain is suddenly thrust upon us, pierces our hearts, and we find our life draining away.  We have the choice to let it go in faith or to try to stop up the hole with resentment and compensation.  Here is fulfilled the scripture which says, “If you save your life you will lose it, but if you lose it for My sake, you will find it”.  Being truly emptied of self by God’s action, makes us ready to receive our new life in His love.  So, let us, like Jesus, endure the Cross, heedless of its shame, for the sake of the joy that lies before us.  The Cross will always be painful, but it is at least possible to bear it and to be crucified on it when we have this hope of glory to sustain us.  We do not have to wait for heaven to receive this glory, for it is already ours when we submit ourselves to the loving will of God.

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