WE HAVE TO REALIZE that we need the cross. Whether we like it or not, the cross will be unavoidable in our life due to our wounded human condition. We should, therefore, develop the proper attitude toward it, and that can only be the attitude Christ had toward the cross.

The gospel tells us that Christ knew he was going to offer his life on the cross as the ransom for all our sins. When it was not yet his time to do it, he managed to escape the attempts of those who wanted to arrest him. (cfr. Jn 7,1-2.10.25-30) But when that time came, he even went to offer himself for his eventual arrest and execution.

We have to understand that the cross, in any form it comes to us, is the way to our redemption. Christ had to win our redemption through the cross. And if we believe that we are meant to follow Christ, then we too, like Christ, has to win our own redemption through the cross with Christ.

It’s important that we lose the fear of the cross. For this, we need to ask first for God’s grace, and then train ourselves to develop a certain love for the cross. While the cross would inevitably cause us some suffering, we have to look at it with faith and convince ourselves that it actually is what would give us true joy.

So, we just have to be sport and cool about the whole reality of the cross in our life. What we need to do is to follow Christ in his attitude toward them. For Christ, embracing the cross, is the expression of his greatest love for us. We have to enter into the dynamic of this divine logic and wisdom so we can lose that fear of the cross.

Thus, we have to understand this very well. Unless we love the cross, we can never say that we are loving enough. Of course, we have to qualify that assertion. It’s when we love the cross the way God wills it—the way Christ loves it—that we can really say that we are loving as we should, or loving with the fullness of love.

We have to be wary of our tendency to limit our loving to ways and forms that give us some benefits alone, be it material, moral or spiritual. While they are also a form of love, they are not yet the fullness of love. Given our human wounded condition, the fullness of our love would always need the cross.

So, everyday let’s see to it that we have the cross. It can come to us in different ways—sickness, trials, difficulties, losses, death, etc.—and if we seem to have no cross for the day, then let’s look for it, the way Christ looked forward to embracing his cross.

This can take the form of taking the initiative to do a lot of good to others, or to make better use of our time, fighting against our tendency to laziness and complacency, or to do some small mortifications like denying ourselves some food, drink, the use of gadgets, etc.

We have to see to it that the cross figures prominently in our daily life, since the cross would clearly enable us to follow Christ instead of just following our own will and ways, which is a strong tendency for us. Our own victory over sin and death can only come through the cross, the cross of Christ. By Fr. Roy Cimagala (EV Mail March 4-10, 2024 issue)