Day Two of our Lenten Journey – 18 February – Thursday after Ash Wednesday, Readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6, Luke 9:22-25
Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis CRSA (1380-1471)
In Your Light Lord, we see light
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” – Luke 9:23
To many the word seems harsh; “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus”… (Mt 16:24) Why do you fear then to take up the cross, the way that leads to the kingdom? In the cross you are saved, revived, protected. In the cross you are showered with sweetness from on high, your mind is strengthened, your spirit rejoiced. In the cross is virtue’s sum and perfect holiness. In the cross alone, is the hope of life eternal, the soul’s salvation. So take up your cross and follow Jesus and you will enter eternal life… For if you die with Him, you shall also likewise live with Him. If you are His companion in punishment, so shall you be in glory.
Everything is founded on the cross… There is no other way to life, nor to true inner peace… Walk where you will, seek what you will, you will find neither a loftier way above, nor a safer way below but only the way of the Holy Cross.
Plan as you will, arrange as you see fit; all you will ever find is suffering, you cannot help but bear and so you will always find the cross. You will either have bodily pain or mental and spiritual affliction. Now God will leave you, again your fellow will provoke you and what is more, you will often weigh heavy on yourself. There is neither remedy to free you, nor comfort to ease you… For God will have you learn to endure affliction with total submission to Himself and become more humble… You must endure with patience everywhere, if you would be at peace within and earn the lasting crown.
(Book II, Ch 12:1,2,3-4)
Thought for the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Excerpt – Pope Benedict XVI
Angelus, 17 September 2006
“But what does exalting the Cross mean? Is it not maybe scandalous to venerate a shameful form of execution? The Apostle Paul says: “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” (I Cor 1: 23). Christians, however, do not exalt just any cross but the Cross which Jesus sanctified with His sacrifice, the fruit and testimony of immense love. Christ on the Cross pours out His Blood to set humanity free from the slavery of sin and death.
Therefore, from being a sign of malediction, the Cross was transformed into a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death into a symbol par excellence of the Love that overcomes hatred and violence and generates immortal life. “O Crux, ave spes unica! O Cross, our only hope!”. Thus sings the liturgy.
The Evangelist recounts – Mary was standing by the Cross (cf. Jn 19: 25-27). Her sorrow is united with that of her So n. It is a sorrow full of faith and love. The Virgin on Calvary participates in the saving power of the suffering of Christ, joining her “fiat”, her “yes”, to that of her Son.
Dear brothers and sisters, spiritually united to Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also renew our “yes” to God who chose the Way of the Cross in order to save us. This is a great mystery which continues and will continue to take place until the end of the world and which also asks for our collaboration.
May Mary help us to take up our cross every day and follow Jesus faithfully on the path of obedience, sacrifice and love.”
We adore You Christ and we bless You,
for by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
One Minute Reflection – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
We proclaim Christ – yes, Christ nailed to the cross; and though it is a stumbling-block to Jews and folly to Greeks, yet to those who have heard his call, Jews and Greeks alike, he is the power of God and the wisdom of God...1 Corinthians 1:23-24
REFLECTION – “We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light… Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, Life Itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if Life had not been nailed to it, they would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled… The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph.”….St Andrew of Crete (650-740)
PRAYER – O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth, may merit the grace of his redemption in heaven.
For you placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.
We adore you Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Amen