The Cross

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“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:15-17)

Several years ago, a friend agreed to accompany me to photograph the crosses of our local parishes for a Lenten project I was planning.  Although the project was never fully realized, at least as I pictured it, and the photos were lost in a computer crash, the memory of our time together remains a vivid memory for me.  Armed with hot coffee, a map and a tank of gas, we set off early on Saturday mornings on a sort of scavenger hunt. We did find many crosses, and as I sat before them, words or emotions would often rise up unexpectedly.  It became much more than a photography project.  It took on the nature of a pilgrimage: a time for quiet personal reflection and a time for sharing our story. Our schedule  was often interrupted with unplanned pauses to kneel and pray in a chapel we suddenly discovered, or to walk the holy grounds or to talk with someone we encountered along the way.  All became sacred in our search for the crosses.  Our friendship took on a new depth and honesty that left an eternal mark on our relationship, and for me deepened my faith and restored hope. Our physical journey to the crosses led us to new paths in our spiritual journey.

Our faith teaches us that through the cross, ancient symbol of death, God redeems all the pieces of our lives,  In offering his Son on the cross,  death was defeated and eternal life offered.   On this Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is there a physical cross that has been significant in your prayer life or faith journey?  Can you make a pilgrimage to sit before it today?

About WalkingwithBenedict

I love how scripture comes alive with messages for our lives today. In praying with scripture, we are called into deeper relationship with God and others. We are called to the growth in love, hospitality, peace, humility, stewardship and hope. St Benedict's Rule provides a lens for how scripture can be lived in our lives today whether we live inside or outside a monastery.
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6 Responses to The Cross

  1. Gina says:

    Thank you for sharing, Gail. I am reminded of how the cross is always present as I journey through my life and encounter things within me which still need to be transformed and redeemed. This was helpful-timing was good for me. Peace.

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    • Yes, transformation and redemption that for me comes with death experiences of pieces of my life I must let go of in order to experience new life. On my walk this morning, I noticed a red and orange leaf on the ground, a sign of the changing seasons and a pointer toward the eternal cycle of life and death that the whole of creation experiences.

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  2. Beverly Martin says:

    Bishop Hanifen asked those of us studying in the Pastoral Ministry Masters program if we had been on the cross yet. All of us were stunned. What? “If you haven’t, you will be” he continued. “Are you ready for that?” I know I wasn’t. I felt scared. But he was right! Since then, many of us (probably all) have experienced the cross in our personal and/or ministerial lives. Nobody is really ready. But we can accept our crosses with the help of God. By tending to our spiritual lives regularly we can be ready, meet the challenge, let it flow through us or plough through ourselves, and get to the other side.

    I visited the Stations of the Cross in the San Luis Valley one Lent. The crucifixion station was located at the point of the hill overlooking the valley. I was thinking how amazing that it overlooked the agricultural area where people with little means worked. My heart ached for them, and yet, I knew that Jesus was looking over them. How lucky they were! They had Jesus!!! We all do if we recognize his presence in our lives.

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  3. Pat Van Horn says:

    I have had a lot of different crosses in my life this summer and I did not look on them as individual but all one big lump that I wanted to end. Now I can recollect each one and see God’s hand in them, one by one. They haven’t gotten any better but I feel better about them.

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    • When I have a number of crosses to bear, I imagine each as a station or two along the road to calvary. This somehow helps me to seem them as part of the journey. Then I can pray with each as I would a station of the cross. Just like Stations of Cross then, sometimes someone comes along to help me carry one, or I might fall, or a piece of me be crucified so that new life might arise.

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