REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 14, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Jn. 3:16-17
Today we celebrate the feast of the exaltation of the cross, it is a feast of great rejoicing. when we look at the cross with human eyes we see sorrow, pain and death and wonder how we can rejoice. But with the eyes of faith, we understand that the cross is the sign of victory over sin and death. It is the source of restoration.
If Jesus had not given His life on a cross for the salvation of the world, then the cross would not have been seen in “exultation.” A cross, is an instrument of death, a horrific and violent death. It is an instrument of humiliation and torture. Yet, today, the Cross is seen as a holy and blessed object.
We hang crosses in our homes, wear them around our neck, keep them in our pocket on the end of the rosary, and spend time in prayer before them. The Cross is now an exalted image by which we turn to God in prayer and surrender. But that is only the case because it was on a cross that we were saved and brought to eternal life.
If you step back and consider the amazing truth that one of the worst instruments of torture and death is now seen as one of the holiest of images on earth, it should be awe inspiring. Comprehending this fact should lead us to the realization that God can do anything and everything. God can use the worst and transform it into the best. He can use death to bring forth life.
The “Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” is a feast by which we give glory to the Father for what He did in the Person of His divine Son, it is also a feast by which we must humbly understand that God can “exalt” every cross we endure in life and bring forth much grace through them.
What is your heaviest cross? What is the source of your greatest suffering? Most likely, as you call this to mind, it is painful to you. Most often, our crosses and sufferings are things we seek to rid ourselves of. We easily point to crosses in life and blame them for a lack of happiness. We can easily think that if only this or that were to change or be removed, then our life would be better. Now, what is that cross in your life?
The truth is that whatever your heaviest cross may be, there is extraordinary potential for that cross to become an actual source of grace in your life and in the world. But this is possible only when you embrace that cross in faith and hope. The Cross of life and that of Christ when embraced, truly has the power to restore us to God’s divine life and give we the peace and grace we need in life.
Reflect, today, upon your crosses. As you do, try not to see them as a burden. Instead, realize the potential within those crosses. Prayerfully look at your crosses as invitations to share in Christ’s Cross. Say “Yes” to your crosses. Choose them freely. Unite them to Christ’s Cross. As you do, have hope that God’s glory will come forth in your life and in the world through your free embrace of them. Know that these “burdens” will be transformed and become a source of exaltation in your life by the transforming power of God.
Lord, I turn to You in my need and with the utmost faith in Your divine power to save. Please give me the grace I need to fully embrace every cross in my life with hope and faith in You. Please transform my crosses so that You will be exalted through them and so that they will become an instrument of Your glory and grace. Jesus, I trust in You.