Tag Archives: cross

Don’t ashamed of the Cross of Christ

cross sacramentaryFriday is a day to recall the Signum Crucis –the sign of the Cross. I am aware that some are not comfortable with crossing one’s self in public for being self-conscious. It is, however, good public witness! We ought not be ashamed of making the sign of the Cross! To be ashamed of the sign of His Cross is to be ashamed of Him!

“Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act.” – St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem A.D. 386

We carry our cross

carrying our cross

Daily I am reminded that life is not easy for others, and for me. We carry burdens of health, the spiritual life, economy, of relationship and psychology. How is our heart affected? The burdens we carry are only lightened when we make a connection with Jesus who first carried the cross for us.

Remember that each of us has his own cross. The Golgotha of this cross is our heart: it is being lifted or implanted through a zealous determination to live according to the Spirit of God. Just as salvation of the world is by the Cross of God, so our salvation is by our crucifixion on our own cross.

St. Theophan the Recluse

Christ’s victory in the Cross

Crucifixion Georges RouaultIn the Syriac Christian tradition the Cross of Jesus is known as a bridge that connects us to new life and the promise, the glory of the kingdom. The Lord Himself is the gate that let’s us into our eternal home. The gate is also the saving wood of his cross. This is part of His I AM –the personal mission given to Him by God the Father. Those who live and pray in the Syriac theological tradition (the Syriac Church or the Maronite Church) know that after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross the Church’s Liturgy counts the Sundays in this manner: “3rd Sunday after the Holy Cross.” It is an acknowledgement of this pivotal feast of the Paschal Mystery. The Church keeps us focussed on the beauty and victory of the Cross of Jesus. What does divine revelation and the teaching of the Fathers reveal to us? The Victorious and Life-giving sacrifice of the Cross “is the sign of all that is good, coming from Christ the Lord: the gospel, the sacraments, new life, his shield of protection, as well as the sign of his final victory.”

The sainted deacon and hymn-writer Saint Ephrem (fourth century) speaks of “the Cross as the new Tree of Life, mystically describes the branches of the Tree of the Cross as the arms of a mother who picks-up her children to nourish them with the fruits – the sacraments – from the bosom of her branches. Christ himself, through his saving cross has become for us this Tree of Life; the Luminous Sign of our victory over death through the life-giving graces of the Father’s nurturing Spirit.”

Back to the cross

English: Christ - Coptic Art

The Church gives us on this 12th Sunday of through the Year the gospel of Luke (9:18-24) focusses our personal reflection on the cross, redemptive suffering, self-abnegation. We can’t get away from answering the question: “But who do you say that I am?” AND we have to respond to the Lord’s declaration: “Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Francis the Pope tells us: “those who serve the truth serve Christ.” In his TheoDrama (Vol. 1), Han Urs von Balthsar tells us to do the truth. Does anyone really believe that you do the truth? Now, what does this look like? Preach with your life the Paschal Mystery, that is, Jesus Christ Present: here and now.

Perhaps a reflection from Saint Cyril of Alexandria might help us understand: “When the disciple Peter had professed his faith, Jesus charged them, it says, and commanded them to tell it to no one. ‘For the Son of Man’, he says, ‘is about to suffer many things, and be rejected, and killed, and on the third day he shall rise again.’ Wasn’t it the duty of disciples to proclaim him everywhere? This was the very business of those appointed by him to the apostleship. But, as the Scripture says, ‘There is a time for everything.’ There were things yet unfulfilled which must also be included in their preaching about him. They must also proclaim the cross, the passion, and the death in the flesh. They must preach the resurrection of the dead, that great and truly glorious sign by which testimony is borne him that the Emmanuel is truly God and by nature the Son of God the Father…He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a reasonable silence until the whole plan of the dispensation should arrive at a suitable conclusion.”

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The Modern Cross that Brings Us to our Knees

John Waters.jpg

John Waters, an Irish journalist  who follows Communion and Liberation, gave this personal witness to the gathering of ecclesial movements with Pope Francis, “The Modern Cross that Brings Us to our Knees” (May 18, 2013). 

John is known to many of us in the USA because of his presence at the annual New York Encounter and because of his reflections in Traces magazine, or just because his writing finds a place on the online journal, Il Susidiario. John knows the reality of sin, evil , despair, and isolation. He knows what it means to be at bottom as a result of alcohol abuse. John is a very good man who knows what it means to be a fragile human being sustained by the grace of God and by friendship. Whatever way you come to know John Waters, you ought to know that he lives his life one-day-at-a time in God’s grace. Some days the cross is heavy, and yet there are people good people who help to carry the burden of the cross.

We live, my friends, in deceptive times. In the past, man strove for perfection, knowing it was unattainable in this reality. Guided by certain faith in a loving Creator, on whom he remained dependent, man reached for the stars, not expecting to touch them, but understanding that the act of reaching allowed him to become fully himself.

Today, mankind strives for omnipotence, believing this obtainable. Consequently, man feels overwhelmingly alone – that everything depends on his own efforts.

The delusion thus fostered afflicts us all. It invades our minds and changes how we think and feel. And sometimes we feel -in spite of ourselves – that we ought not to need God. Not, I stress, that we don’t need Him, but that we OUGHT NOT to need Him.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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