15 September 2014
The Triumph of the Cross.
Today, September 14th, is the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is a peculiar celebration, and surely, it would not have been considered a celebration in the early Church. After all, the cross was too fresh a reminder of Roman atrocities. This celebration, however, takes on a different meaning in today's world. For me, the celebration of the Exaltation of the Cross is a moment to pause and take note of where we are, and who we are. The cross becomes a reminder of those things that are important to our lives. In a particular manner, this celebration is for me an opportunity to reflect on the freedom and liberty that the cross symbolizes for each of us. First of all, this symbol of death and humiliation becomes the key reminder of the power that God's trans formative love. Just as this heinous wooden cross was redeemed and made different, so too can I be touched by God's love and mystery and become more fully who God is calling me to be. As with anything, however, the transformation that is to take place is not an easy one, nor is it gained 100%, all at once. Instead, the transformative power of God's love takes time and patience. More importantly, God's love takes a listening heart. A heart willing to sit and listen to that which God has to say. A heart that waits for the sculpture to emerge from the block of marble, a heart that awaits the breeze in which God is. This patience though is what has become most challenging for myself (and I'm sure, many others) because all too often, I want God to do things now! Or if possible, yesterday! But what does it mean to be a child of God in today's world, certainly it cannot mean leading lives of contemplation and solitude as our religious brothers and sisters do. Or can it? I dare say, YES! As I have come to know God more and more, and especially throughout my journey, I am more convinced that our relationship with God can only be strengthened through one major thing. And that would be to tune our hearts to God. The easiest way to accomplish this, is by a daily participation in the Sacraments, but clearly, this is not the only way. While a Sacramental relationship with God is the pinnacle of being in the heart of God, there is another way that is more challenging, but perhaps even more rewarding. That other way is to carry a heart that is open to the Sacramental needs of the world. Yes, you read correctly. The BIG challenge is how I carry God's love, as I have experienced it in the Sacraments, and carry it beyond the church walls, or my car or my house. The big and difficult question is how do I bring love to others, how do I allow God's transformative love to touch me and others through me. This is the difficult answer, but not an impossible one to attain, especially as we purposefully focus on God's actions in my life today. As we turn more toward God and God's actions, we are touched, we are changed, and we become living witnesses of Sacrament, we become the presence of Love to all, and it is here that, like the cross, I too am transformed. It is here, that I find my freedom, my liberty, and am able to live as God calls, no longer lost or condemned, but alive and loved. Transformed like the cross, changed in God's Great LOVE, Jesus. Be transformed. As always, know that I love you. Be blessed. Fr. Rick