If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you. -- Oscar Wilde
Given the high price paid for the redemption of all sin via the Cross, calling it a "damned thing" is an oxymoron of the highest order. One is damned WITHOUT the Cross!The quote also seems to cross an invisible line of sensitivity in my own heart that is hard to explain on a Good Friday, that seems neither Good for the death celebration, and absence of God after the Emmanuel gift of "God with us" from Christmas.The Bible is replete with the wording of Cross carrying, and each passage says it far better than the QOTD author. Is it disrespect I feel in the quote? Dunno.But these are better:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A23%2CGalatians+5%3A24%2CMatthew+10%3A38%2CMark+8%3A34%2CLuke+14%3A27&version=NIV
Keystone, I read the quotation as a reminder--on this day when Jesus died for us--to call to mind that we are called to carry the cross, like Simon the Cyrene, with him. That we don't have to die on a cross ourselves, because he did that for us. And I'm pretty sure he's "damning" the pain and suffering of the cross. God can turn all things to good, but suffering isn't inherently good at all.Sorry if this offended you today. I read it differently and thought it was interesting enough to post. Peace.
Keystone, We may be damned without our cross, that doesn't mean God doesn't chuckle at us as we seek to embrace the means of salvationt that despite it's apparent goodness, is hard to carry. He understands the ironic nature of our lives, of our existence. Lord, that's why you have so few friends...I believe because it is absurd, I prayed for patience, and now I am tested, I prayed for humility and now I am humiliated, we've all had these moments and that's clearly what was intended by this quote. If we were capable of doing this willingly and easily, we'd be saints of the highest order but even saints of the highest order balked at first.
Blogger accepts 4,096 characters for comment. I have more to say, so this is Part 1 in my comment:I was in Gethsemane a couple of weeks ago. I stood and then knelt at a 2000 year old olive tree, likely a sapling when Christ stood nearby. Vision changes when you are close to Christ...there's more light.I walked the Via Dolorosa, and if you have not, I recommend you never go. The blood of Christ oozed along the trail long ago. The Roman numerals are listed on walls nearby Via Dolorosa Street. But on either side is a carnival of shops selling meats, trinkets, bras, knick-knacks, and every product known to man. It is extremely narrow and the shops on BOTH sides nearly touch you, as perhaps only two can walk side-by-side between the myriad tackiness.His blood on the ground is the last thing anyone can ponder.I just cried.On Thursday, I went to the church of my youth. My Catholic school is now a paved parking lot for an insurance company. The church is one of two in the world with life-sized Stations of the Cross, depicting the Via Dolorosa well.The communion rail of my youth was gone; no pattens to catch nonexisting scraps of host. But for the first time in my life, I watched the woman a few feet in front of me, drop her host,... that was handed to her open hands, rather than placed on her tongue to simple receive....simply abide.She stooped down and picked the wafer, now body of Christ, and hurriedly place it in her mouth.The Lord is unprotected in Israel from fleecing markets, and unprotected in our church. If you do not believe in transubstantiation, then a piece of bread fell and got picked up...no big deal.But if you are aware of the presence of Christ, now entering the sanctuary that is YOU, vision changes as the invisible Christ becomes visible.Service ended and they began to strip the church. The incense burned at the service ending, set off the fire alarm, but I am deaf....an easy cross you would think, eh? Not so.I never heard the alarm, and watched people scurrying out.... a reminder of my youth as the intonation in Latin said "The Mass is ended; Go in Peace", and folks ran out the door to their busy lives. Neither the fire alarm moment, nor Mass from days of yore ending, were moments of Go in Peace.I headed for the Stations and viewed the Via Dolorosa. A woman had told me of the fire alarm being false; I read lips.The rocky ground on each Station was lifelike and true. Rocks abound in Jerusalem. I contrasted "Jesus is condemned" with Pilate washing his hands at Station I. How Ironic Catholic like it was to see this regal life-sized man washing his hands of Christ, while the pile of towels used to wash people's feet was still sitting on the floor nearby from the service. Christ had only washed the disciples feet a few hours before Pilate washed his hands of Christ. I was trapped in irony. I pondered what happened to the towels of 2000 years ago. They are part of the story still. The washing turned servants into friends dramatically; a servant washes the feet, the body is clean, but walking the desert makes feet filthy.Pilates feet were filthy at the Station!
Part 2I watched Jesus Fell for the First, Second, Third time at various stations. When He first fell, He grabbed a nearby stump of tree to brace himself by hand at this depiction. I looked closely at the tree stump, with edge of the Cross Christ held eerily close to its original state, yet transformed by some carpenter to a Cross. The bark was around the stump, and Christ hands covered much, but there was no denying that there were no rings on that stump. I was gonna count the age of the tree, when suddenly I saw no rings at all....the artist simply points out the agelessness of the Christ who always Was, Is, and Shall be.Many of these extraordinary moments came on Thursday night, but Cyrene caught my attention only second to the Roman Numerals above each station. I saw those numerals in a carnival atmosphere in Jerusalem, and now here at church. I shuddered at what we have become since blood was shed by God.Cyrene did a miserable job.If he was helping Christ to carry the Cross, Christ would not fall three times. The Cross would be held more so by Simon. But the Lord was doing the bulk of the work and drained of strength, and fell. If I was Simon, I would think the Romans would see the lousy job I am doing helping this guy die.And that's what our sins do...help this guy die.I have friends with M.S., cancer, mom died, been to 18 funerals in 2 years, went deaf, and on and on. Everyone has crosses to bear.We are not made saints by bearing our crosses well or less well. We are made saints by belief in the Lord.Many believe in Him. Yet He promises that one day saints will bang on the gates of heaven and say "Lord! Lord! Let us in. We cast out demons and healed the sick. Don't you recognise us?"He replies "Get away from me. I NEVER knew you" and slams the gates shut.How many of us call him Lord, but refuse to allow Him to rule our living time, our lives? His dying words BEFORE the cross are urgent. There is little time to speak to the disciples. Only the most important things are said when you know you will soon die.Read that part anew as he speaks of making disciples "friends" not servants, and telling them of the Vine and Branches and how to ABIDE.We have three comments above seeing the article posted in three views. This is not unusual as we all come from differing stations and views.The sacred Cross saved me. I do not delight in it referred to as Damned Thing. I do not delight in dropped hosts at communion, for the sake of change and speed the process of receiving his body and blood.Carying a cross does not make a saint; belief in Christ does.The thief on His right proclaimed belief and went to Paradise that day. You could say that being crucified was his cross, but not true. It was his punishment for some crucifixion worthy crimes.But belief alone, put him in heaven, while the other thief dying under the same circumstances went to hell.I do not ask you to believe what I believe. Nor can you ask me to drop my beliefs. I wrote my comment as a result of the way it resembles the current Via Dolorosa carnival.We need to get back to the Garden from which we all came. The Cross is a green light that allows entry.People have been killed at green lights at times. If you call Him Lord, make Him Lord. Let Him rule your life. Or prepare to hear the gates slammed shut....regardless of any burden you carried on Earth.
The sacredness of our Christian symbols is real and our manner of describing them is important. Being a homilist now, I realize how important it is to choose my words carefully when speaking of these signs and symbols.The incomparable sacredness of Our Lord's Body and Blood deserves our every effort to protect and to reverence. I am also struck in my meditation upon the realities of Good Friday how much He was maltreated; the reality of his complete assumption of our human nature, even the indignities His body continues to experience in the daily lives of the poor.
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