FEAST OF THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
In this age of instant news, we encounter terrible suffering every day. There are horrors being perpetrated in our world today. Father Ron Raab wrote in an article named “Stations of the Cross: The Faces of Friday” says, “The pain that I meet daily does not easily scab over nor does it ever heal from the inside out.” This week the pain has touched our Monastery very closely in the death of three persons closely tied to us and the manner in which they dealt with their pain. On September 6, I received news that one of my grand-nephews took his life. He had tried it once before and finally succeeded. Obviously his pain was so great that he could not see through it to the vision God had for him, resurrection and life. The same day we received word that Colette Monat, once a member of our Monastery and a very dear friend, who has had cancer for several years had finally succumbed. During those years she learned to accept the pain and embraced it because of her faith in the vision God had for her. Cecilia Thyer, a sister of our Sister Lucile, died on Sunday after a very short time since she learned she had cancer. No one could pinpoint the source, but she lived with the pain and found her God waiting. I’m sure that those of us left with our grief know that all three were welcomed by a loving God who also grieves when there is such great suffering.
Two weeks ago when Jesus spoke to his disciples about the suffering he was to experience in Jerusalem. Peter told Jesus, “ God forbid that you undergo such suffering.” Jesus then told him and us that we must take up our cross and follow in his footsteps. In that same gospel he also said, “The Son of man will come with his Father’s glory accompanied by his angels.” This Sunday we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It seems such a paradox – the wood of the cross conveys death- but also Life. This instrument of suffering and death becomes a sign of exaltation . God’s great love for us brings Life not death. It is our faith in the Son of God and his obedience in giving over his life that draws us into the mystery of the Cross which becomes a sign of exaltation. The depth of God’s love for us is shown in the death of Jesus on the Cross. Jesus being lifted up on the cross means we can share in the Son’s eternal glory. The challenge of this feast for those of us in pain and grief is to see through the pain and suffering of the cross to the eternal Life that it promises. When we finally say yes to our suffering and loss no matter how great, there is room for God to heal and mend and bring back to life. St. Paul tells us, “Jesus was known to be of human likeness, and it was thus he humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross! Because of this God highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on him the name above every other name. So that at the name of Jesus every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth. And every tongue shall proclaim to the glory of God: Jesus Christ is Lord over all!” (Philippians 2” 6-11)
So with St. Paul let us all say, “We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered.” Amen. (Galatians 6:14)
Mary Jane Vigil, OSB