Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Post 14. Love carved upon the Cross! That is the crucifix


Extracts from sermon preached on 14 September 1975 feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross.

…For if there is a testimony of the love of God for us, it is certainly Our Lord Jesus Christ crucified on the Cross for us. What more could Our Lord have done, what more could God have done, than immolate Himself on the Cross for us, to redeem us from our sins? Shall we be insensible to the sacrifice of Our Lord, of the Son of God? One can still find marked on old crucifixes of another age these words: "Can you say that I have not loved you, when you see Love carved upon this Cross?" Love carved upon the Cross! That is the crucifix: love manifested, love alive upon the Cross. Thus one can understand the desire that all holy souls have felt ever to have the crucifix before them, to find in the crucifix the support of their spirituality, the source of their spiritual life.

And how those souls desired to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; to participate therein so as to re-live Calvary, to re-live what the Blessed Virgin lived; and thus to unite themselves to the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Compassion — Our Lady of Compassion is the patroness of our religious. Why? Because Christian souls ought to suffer with Our Lord. A soul that would not wish to suffer with Our Lord would not be a Christian soul. And we should not only suffer with, but also, as it were, think with Our Lord. That is to say, desire with Our Lord to suffer for the remission of the sins of the world: all the injuries; the sacrileges, the sins which are so numerous in the world. And finally, we should complete the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Paul says this very thing: we ought to complete in the flesh the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And that we should also desire.

0h, it is a desire that will cost us dearly ... that will cost us dearly, that will make us suffer — for if we wish to complete the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it will be necessary to suffer with Him, to be immolated with Him. And it would be too easy to say: "Since I am a Christian, God will bless me and exempt me from all suffering. I shall lead a life without suffering, without sacrifice, because I love God, God must love me, and therefore the Good Lord should certainly not want me to suffer!" That is, indeed, poorly to comprehend the mystery of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. If Our Lord has shown us the example of suffering, then on the contrary, we should almost have the desire to suffer with Him, the desire to sacrifice ourselves with Him! And when the thorn of pain pierces us, we should be happy, and find in this sacrifice our joy, our happiness, in associating ourselves — as God wants us to associate ourselves — to the Passion of His Son for the redemption of the world and for the redemption of our sins. Is this not but another mark of love from God, His desire that we be united in suffering with Our Lord Jesus Christ?

That is the Christian life; that is the Catholic teaching. That is our faith, the object of our faith, the reality of our faith. That is what all Christian generations have understood: those generations of holy fathers and mothers of families who suffered, who suffered in a Christian manner; who accepted their sufferings, who accepted their difficulties with joy; who were examples to their children. In suffering and in pain, they knew how to support it with Our Lord Jesus Christ. These were the generations of Christian families which bore so many vocations. It was in that that vocations were born: in the example which their parents could give of knowing how to live with Our Lord Jesus Christ, to suffer with Our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray with Our Lord Jesus Christ; to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with such faith, with such piety, in the spirit of self-oblation as victims with Our Lord Jesus Christ.

How beautiful it is, this Christian, this Catholic doctrine! How completely it transforms our life! How completely it transforms our life here below! And it is that which prepares us for life eternal "O crux, ave, spes nostra!" We refer to the Cross as our hope, for in fact, the Cross is only a road, a way: the way to eternal life, to glory. But it is necessary to pass by way of the Cross! One must take up the Cross and bear it after Our Lord to arrive at eternal life. This via crucis should be ours throughout the course of our life so as to arrive at life eternal.
There, my dear friends: there is our faith. That is what you should be pursuing here. You should have the Cross ever before your eyes. Your most precious desire should be to assist at, to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It should be this that fills your heart, your soul, with that balm that causes all the little difficulties you may have — in your studies, with your health, in the difficulties of community life that causes all that to disappear before the joy that you have to unite yourselves with Our Lord Jesus Christ, before the joy that you have to live with Our Lord Jesus Christ; before the thought that, one day, God willing, you will ascend to the altar and will offer the Sacrifice of Our Lord; that you will renew the sacrifice of Calvary and that you will offer yourselves as well as victims with Our Lord on the altar for the redemption of the sins of the world; that you will preach this doctrine of the Cross, that you will preach Jesus and Jesus Crucified; as Saint Paul says. Saint Paul had no other preaching "nisi Jesum et Jesum crucifixum." That was the preaching of Saint Paul. It will also be, I am sure, your own preaching. And as model of this participation, you will present to the world the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Compassion.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

1 comment:

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