Third week of Lent: veneration of the cross

“We adore Thee oh Christ and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou redeemed the world.”

It’s already the third Sunday of Lent. I think I am letting these forty days pass me by somewhat and I need to stop and focus a bit. In the Eastern Rite today is the Veneration of the Holy Cross which for us Latin Riters doesn’t really happen until the Good Friday service.

But the whole of Lent is about how willing we are to obey Christ’s command to “Take up [our] cross and follow [Him].”

Lots of us have pretty heavy crosses to drag around and I know I have a lot of times when I resent this and don’t want to take it up, I want to leave it there and walk away. Lent is a time to try to put aside the battle and to use the old advice “let go and Let God”. This, of course is always easier said than done.

I don’t think I will ever quite make it as a saint, although I know I am supposed to strive in that direction. I saw a quote from somewhere that summed up my level of holiness; I couldn’t be a saint but perhaps I could be a martyr if they killed me quickly (and I had my eyes shut).

I am not making a particularly good go at praying the Seven Sorrows. So I thought I would try and blog on them one at a time:

The first sorrow: Mary receives the prophecy of Simeon, “And a sword will pierce your heart also.” A terrible sword that would pierce her mother’s heart as she watched her Son suffer so much to the thoughts of many would be revealed and so we could receive forgiveness.

Plenty of mothers, many of them saints like Monica or my own St Bridget of Sweden, have suffered because of their children. They saw their children get into terrible situations or have health problems or even die.

I am not sure what happened to Bridget’s daughter Katrin that has made her the patron saint of mothers who miscarry their babies but my guess is she knew that pain.

Mother’s learn to carry their children’s crosses along with their own to make the burden lighter for their children. It is part of the job of being a mother.

There is a moment in the Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson’s film) where Mary rushes to her Son as he drags his cross through the streets of Jerusalem. Gibson cuts with a scene of her rushing to Him as a child who fell. As Jesus falls under the weight of the cross she arrives to comfort Him and He says, “See Mother, I make all things new.”

In the stations of the cross we see her there to comfort Him so that He is strengthened to carry the burden.

Carrying crosses is all part of the Lenten journey. Yes, we might do it all year round, but in Lent we must surely walk a little closer along the Via Dolarosa without so much resentment.

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