Christians: The World Needs Us to Really Live the Cross to Victory

A woman prays during an Easter mass led by Bishop Krikor Kousa at the Armenian Catholic Church in Cairo, Egypt, April 11, 2020. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)

Lift high the cross
The love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world
Adore His sacred name.

Led on their way
By this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God
In conquering ranks combine.

Lift high the cross . . . 

Much of Monday, I was singing — when not regaling others of the majesty the feast of the day — the Triumph of the Cross. All the riots and fires and madness and evil that all seem of hell — insist on us all taking a few steps back and appreciating the power of mercy, love, truth, faith, courage. The virtuous life, the Beatitudes, living the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This stuff Christians sign up for, but don’t always operate out of.

The cross of Jesus makes so much make sense.

Also on the calendar today is Our Lady of Sorrows. Mary, who watched her Son be tortured to death. She knows every sorrow and if we believe she is the Mother of God, who gives us as a mother to us, we are not alone in any suffering.

The world is transformed, changed through suffering and sacrifice. A Dominican priest I know, Fr. James Brent, O.P., talks about this beautifully in this short video.

The hospital bed as an altar is such a vivid and convicting image. And I’ve sure seen it. And we’ve all experienced it, haven’t we?

This was in the Liturgy of the Hours Monday from Saint Andrew of Crete — the kind of meditation we need these days:

We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.

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, there 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 attained 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.

Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation—very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.

The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven: I have glorified it and I will glorify it again. Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.

The world would look so much different if Christians truly lived this. I’m praying to recommit myself to be a person of victory, a person who shows His love in all I do. I’m a mess, but I want to be His light. I want to remind people that there is more than this election cycle or the destruction of their business, or even the loss of life. Evil is not the end of the story. Always remember there is no Easter without Good Friday. But we are an Easter people, Christians.

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