Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34).
It never ceases to amaze me that after all of these many centuries of Christianity, the one symbol that has never been lost is the Cross. The Cross has been painted, put on the chain of necklaces and bracelets, hung on walls, made into marble monuments, sits on the top of church steeples, etc. All of the human flaws of the Christian Church could not take away the beauty and mystery of the Cross.
What continues to inspire me personally, is that the Cross is glorified with beautiful colors and the like. Yet, what took place at the Cross was hardly anything beautiful to look at. Jesus Christ, God’s prefect revelation of God’s Self was crucified on the Cross, and died for the sins of the world. Perhaps the beauty of the Cross comes from the love of God and us, for which Christ died on the Cross. Perhaps the glory of the Cross is that it was the pathway to His Resurrection. Maybe all of those things are true, and perhaps we are missing the point altogether.
One thing we can be sure of, is that the Cross is an opportunity for endless contemplation, prayer and reflection. It is a symbol of a deepening relationship with God through self-sacrifice and loving devotion; especially when everything evil is showing its ugly head. We can meditate on the reality that whatever is happening in our lives that brings disappointment, sadness, death and hopelessness; God is right there with us drawing ever closer to us. We are never alone.
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB