Sunday, April 01, 2007

Christ's Passion

~from Vultus Christi by Don Marco

The Mystery of the Cross

The love revealed to us in the mystery of the Cross is an unspeakable love. The mystery of the Cross is ineffable. Divinely foolish. In the immense and solemn stillness of this Great Week, our silence will reach its highest expression in song and again our song will come to rest in the silence of an unspeakable love. In the silence and song of the Holy Week liturgy, folly will be revealed as wisdom. Weakness will be clothed in power. The mystery of the Cross will shine forth and in its radiance, “we all, with unveiled face will behold the glory of the Lord” (2 Cor 3: 18).

A Radiance Darkly Veiled

“The word of the cross, says Saint Paul, is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). The mystery of the Cross is hidden from the eyes of mere spectators. The wisdom of the Cross eludes those who would analyze it. The radiance of the Cross is darkly veiled, shrouded in tragedy and failure. Human reasoning strains and struggles to make sense of it and even so sees nothing more than an impenetrable obscurity.

Spes Unica

The Cross cannot be understood from without nor from below. The mystery of the Cross is revealed to those who allow themselves to be lifted up in its rough-hewn arms and held in its embrace. There is no salvation for those who remain outside of the mystery of the Cross. The power and wisdom of God are operative only in the weakness and foolishness of the Cross. It is, as we sing at Vespers, our “only hope.” “And I, when I am lifted up, says the Lord, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show by what death He was to die” (Jn 12:32-33).

Fear of the Cross

Most of us are repulsed by the Cross. We live in fear of suffering. We would prefer that it not touch us. We are willing to contemplate the Cross from a distance, willing to place it on our walls or to wear it over our hearts. It is quite another thing to be lifted up in its arms, to surrender to its embrace and to remain there naked, exposed and vulnerable. And yet, the saints and mystics — all those who have surrendered to the embrace of the Cross — are unanimous in testifying that for those who are lifted up to the Cross and remain there, the Cross becomes a safe harbour, a haven of peace, a place of rest. It becomes the tree of life, the marriage bed, and the altar of sacrifice.

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