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  • Sarah Raad

Marvellous

The Cross is not the goal, the GLORY is the goal! The Cross is the path that will take us to the glory!

Saint Francis embracing the Crucified Christ (Bartolome Esteban Murillo)

The other day on Facebook, the family of a young girl who had died a few months ago after a very long battle with cancer (and only a few months after her younger brother had died unexpectedly) posted a beautiful photograph of this girl on Facebook. A few days earlier, they had asked us to join them in praying the rosary in THANKSGIVING for the months since her death, because their child was in Heaven...


This prayer request was perhaps more extraordinary a thing than any other thing that I have seen or heard in recent times. And I have been reflecting on the profound dignity of this family as I have been praying for them – most especially during this Holy Week, when we focus most clearly on the Cross.


You see, when I was speaking with one of my sisters about this extraordinary example of faith, she said, “This family make grief look so easy. And it is not easy. And yet, they make it appear so...”


And my sister is correct. Their public example of faith, like that of others who are examples of faith – like the Abdullah family (who lost their children and cousin in the Oatlands’ tragedy some years ago) – is something very profound.


You see, this week Christ died. I killed Him. And God died. And God did not just die quietly in his bed, surrounded by loved ones praying for Him and holding His hand as perhaps His foster Father Saint Joseph died. No. This week Christ died under horrifically terrible circumstances…


Christ died after being unjustly judged. He died after being rejected, tortured, abused, beaten, and deserted by most of His dearest friends until He hung on that Cross with His mother and a boy and a few other women at a distance. He hung on that Cross alone.

And God Himself died hanging on a Cross while His Holy Blood slowly drained from a multitude of His perfect Flesh. And while God’s Lifeblood drained away for love of me – I stood with the people who jeered and mocked and scorned and abused Him…

And though He suffered so dreadfully on that Cross, it occurs to me that the Cross is not the goal at all… The GLORY is the goal! This Crucifixion of Christ shows us that the Cross is the path that will take us to the glory! For in the words of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, “As patience leads to peace, and study to science, so are humiliations the path that leads to humility.”


And it is this path upon which these families tread – bearing the weight of their Cross. In fact, whenever I suffer some setback, disappointment, or stress in my own life – however small – I too can ask for the Grace to unite that small Cross to Christ’s agony on the Cross and in that way share some fellowship in salvation, though I am not worthy of bearing the greater Cross.


For though it is true that we cannot save ourselves or each other. After all, can one drowning man save another drowning man? But it is also equally true that we can help each other along that road to Calvary. For just as one drowning man can shout encouragement to the other drowning man, so too can we when we witness a soul bearing a greater Cross than ours.


And we can do this through prayer.


And in this community, in this COMMUNION OF SAINTS, I – little miserable worthless me – has been given the dignity (through the GIFT of suffering) of reaching up to God Himself on the Cross.


And that is what I see in those families who bear the greater Cross – that is the truly remarkable and profound thing that I can see.


That is why – though their Cross is heavy – they make it appear so light… Because they are reaching up to God Himself.


And when a soul reaches up to touch God right there on the Cross – they hold God in the palm of their hand.


And there is nothing more marvellous than that.


Nothing…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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