Monday, October 21, 2013

Why I Need the Crucifix

If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.
2 Corinthians 1:6, 7

I need the crucifix. 

The cross is a wonderful symbol of the resurrection, but my life right now needs a crucifix. 

Let me begin with this: Most of my life I have felt close to Christ. My relationship with Him has been one of great joy. 

But, there is a problem with this. I was brought up in a world that implied that if I loved Jesus that I would be happy. That after Christ came into my heart, I would have that romantic spirituality of feeling Jesus near-- I would feel safe, cozy and warm and cheerful.  

That leaves one with the perspective that if you don't feel Christ near, something is wrong. If your life faces serious challenges, that you somehow failed Christ or that His favor has been withdrawn from you. There is Christian judgement for imperfect lives. Subconsciously I will assume, they treat you  as if you slipped up and sinned somewhere.

I can hear many of you denying this.

But despite the denial, Christians may not explicitly teach that we should always have a smile and be happy, that is how Christians behave. Believers do feel abandon by God when their lives fall apart. 

It seems a natural question, "Where are you God?" in painful crisis and that question would not be there if we assumed suffering was a part of Christianity. If we truly believed that we are to take up our crosses and follow Him, we wouldn't be asking Christ why we have a cross? Suffering is a part of the program.

In Sunday mass, I looked up at the Crucifix hanging in front-- upon Jesus suffering and a revelation swept me. Not a new revelation, but something so clear it illuminated my basic understanding of God.

Jesus paid it all. But what does that mean?

Jesus did not suffer so that we may not suffer. 

Because the Beloved chose to sin, Jesus stretched out his hands to absorb the blows of the evil of the cosmos  not so that we can avoid pain. For His beloved, He opened  Himself up to the deepest sufferings of mankind so that we can see how love behaves.  

Love suffers for the Beloved.  

Jesus was not obedient in all things, even unto death so that we may do what we want to do. 

He was obedient to His Father even to the agony in the garden that led to the agony of the cross so that we may live in obedience to the Father.

I need to keep the crucifix near me at all times, to find comfort and strength not just from seeing His sacrifice for me, but to remind me to humbly bow before Him and endure the crosses I have been given when I am being obedient to Him. 
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Rom. 8: 18 
For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. 2 Cor. 1: 5 
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death. Phil. 3: 10
I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. Col. 1: 24
But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ's sufferings so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. I Pet. 4: 13
Now, I do not ask, "Why am I having to go through this? Where are you Lord?" But I look up to Christ and unite with His sufferings.

Love suffers. Love suffers for the Beloved. The crucifix speaks to me that I am part of that love. 

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