Crucifixion with saints AdelCastagno.jpg

Thinking about the life-saving cross of Jesus, I am
recalling what Saint Ignatius of Loyola taught in his Spiritual Exercises about God’s unconditional love for humanity: no talk of the mercy and love is reasonable without kneeling before the cross. This was evident to me as I walked into the chapel this morning for Lauds and forced to navigate in the
middle of the aisle a cross with relic of the True Cross before it. I knelt for a moment of prayer and kissed the relic. It is striking to do this pious gesture because it brings home to the heart, the Christian reality that the cross is so very central to our life of faith; it is the altar on which we are saved; and it is the cross that is the key which unlocks the door to the Father’s house; it is the love that kills and transcends all sin.

Loyola offers a meditation

Imagine Christ our Lord suspended on the cross before you, and converse with him in a colloquy: How is it that he, although he is the Creator, has come to make himself a human being? How is it that he has passed from eternal life to death here in time, and to die in this way for my sins?

In a similar way, reflect on yourself and ask: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ What ought I to do for Christ?

In this way, too, gazing on him in so pitiful a state as he hangs on the cross, speak out whatever comes to your mind.

A Colloquy is made, properly speaking, in the way one friend speaks to another, or a servant to one in authority – now begging for a favor, now accusing oneself of some misdeed, now telling one’s concerns and asking counsel about them. Close with an Our Father.

(Spiritual Exercises 53 and 54)