Fear the cross no more

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to learn to lose any fear of the cross. That instinct of ours to be afraid and to flee from the cross has to be reversed, and made into an instinct of love for the cross.

This may take time and effort, this may require a lot of thinking and discipline, this may involve some drastic and even painful adjustments in our understanding of things, but it is all worthwhile to do so.

When we lose the fear of the cross and develop the love for it instead, we would have the proper light to guide us in our life here on earth. Not only that, we can have the invincible peace and joy that is proper to us as persons and as children of God.

Opus Dei founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, often repeated the motto, “Lux in cruce, gaudium in cruce, requies in cruce,” (light in the cross, joy in the cross, peace in the cross), to remind himself and everybody else that it is in the cross of Christ where we have the path and the instrument of our human salvation.

Again it’s good to be theological in our understanding of the cross because the mere human attitude toward the cross can never fathom the crucial and indispensable significance the cross of Christ possesses.

Christ’s cross, which Christ himself told us to carry (cfr. Mt 16,24), converts that tree of death that led to the downfall of our pristine humanity in Adam and Eve into a tree of life that brings us back again to God, our Father and Creator.

It is this cross that assumes all the sins of men and destroys them. It is this cross that reopens the gates of heaven to us after it was closed due to our sins. We need to engrave these theological truths of the cross so we can be guided properly.

In other words, this cross enables us to handle the worst condition that can happen to us in this life, and to convert that condition into a means of our salvation. Thus, whenever we have the cross, in whatever concrete form it comes—whether physical, moral orspiritual—we have to bear it with Christ always. It would then become Christ’s cross, and not just any cross, and as such it is a redemptive cross.

It would also be a cross that is not simply ours, borne only by our own selves. It becomes the cross of Christ who has assumed all the sinfulness of men without committing sin. (cfr. 2 Cor 5,21)Somehow it is a cross that is not as heavy as when it is simply ours, carrying it without Christ carrying it for and with us.

We obviously have to adapt our attitude, thinking andreactions towards the cross according to what our faith teaches us. We have to go theological in this, not merely physical, emotional ormental. Thus, we have to be ready to follow what Christ told us whenever we encounter crosses in our life.

Like, we have to learn to love our enemies, to pray for them. We have to offer the other cheek when we are slapped on one cheek. We have to learn to be charitable and magnanimous when we are misunderstood, mistreated, insulted, offended. We have to learn to be patient and humble when humiliated. We have to regard others as better than us, always concerned about their interest rather than focusing simply on ours.

There are many more forms of how to bear our cross the way christ bore his, and thus make our cross also the cross of Christ, across that is redemptive and worthy of being loved and exalted.

We should not only lose the fear of the cross, but rather love it, and actively look for it, since that is the only way to our salvation, given our wounded and sinful condition.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com