“Reflecting deeper on the Cross of our Blessed Lord, and preserving, nurturing and beautifying our lives – which is truly a ‘treasure in clay’ – in holiness and love!”
(Based on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross)
Venerable Fulton J Sheen is undoubtedly one of the greatest proponents of Catholicism of the 20th century.
In his autobiography titled, “Treasure in Clay,” Bishop Sheen gives a beautiful and heart-rending illustration of the Cross – the Crucifix:
“In the Crown of Thorns, I see my pride…
… my grasping for earthly toys, in the Pierced Hands,
… my flight from shepherding care, in the Pierced Feet
… my wasted love, in the Wounded Heart
… and my prurient desires, in the Flesh hanging from Him like Purple Rags!”
… on the Most Holy Cross, we have the autobiography of all our lives!
On this Great and Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross, we turn our gaze towards the Cross on which our Blessed Lord redeemed us…
… as we gratefully thank Him for His Awesome Sacrificial Love
… and pledge to live a life in expectation of this Great Sacrifice of our Crucified Lord!
In the Gospel (Jn 3: 13-17), Jesus tells to Nicodemus, “… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life” (Jn 3: 14)
Centuries before Jesus was crucified, Divinity in its Immense Wisdom was already preparing for the plan of salvation!
Having been powerfully freed from the slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel were travelling to the Promised Land through the wilderness.
However, this difficult journey caused the people to lose their patience, and they murmured against God and His servant, Moses on the lack of comforts!
The result of this sin was the plague of poisonous serpents that caused suffering and death to them. (Num 21: 4-9)
However at the intercession of Moses, God had him lift up a bronze serpent on a pole, so that all who looked it would be healed!
This was the foreshadowing of the Cross of Christ!
(This method of Interpreting the Bible is also called “Biblical Typology”
“Biblical Typology” refers to a person, place or event in the Old Testament that has its own proper significance…
… but also prefigures a person, place or event, later in the New Testament
In the words of St Augustine: “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is made manifest in the New!”)
Like the people of Israel, our life is a journey through the wilderness.
Sometimes there is a lack of comfort.
Sometimes there is an inflation of hardships
Sometimes there is an increase in uncertainty.
… And we begin to complain, grumble… falling into many sinful ways and habits!
But Divine Love, wanting to have us back to Him, provides us the means to be rescued from the deadly effects of such sins…
… The Holy Cross is the Symbol of this redemption and salvation that is won for us, by Christ!
Are we ready to take refuge in the shadows of this Holy Cross…
… and affirming our sincere acceptance of Christ in our lives, do we live a holy life, worthy of our salvation?
St John of the Cross would say, “The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily, must cast off all things…
… and use the Cross as his cane.
In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”
Usually the heart is considered to be the great symbol of Love…
But, from a Christian perspective, probably, the Holy Cross is a greater and a more meaningful symbol of the Immense Love of God for each one of us.
The Cross demands sacrifice…
The Cross demands a self-emptying nature…
The Cross demands a complete commitment…
… And this is indeed the true nature of Love – sacrificial, self-emptying and committed! (Phil 2: 6-11)
As we honour and venerate the Holy Cross, may we hear the words of our Crucified Lord, tenderly whispering to us, with deep love and affection:
“You are mine, forever…
… and you belong to Me and to Me alone!
Hold on to My Cross, always!”
Two thieves on either sides, died with Christ on the Cross
One mocked Jesus…
… the other sought Jesus
One took pride in himself…
… the other humbled himself
One lost a golden opportunity…
… the other, won the Prized Paradise!
The Cross – with Jesus hanging – beckons to each one of one of us today
We have a choice…
… like both the thieves
What choice are we going to make?
Are we going to lose a golden opportunity…
… or are we going to seek the Prized Paradise?
ESCAPE FROM THE CROSS…
… OR EMBRACE THE CROSS!!
EXIT THE CROSS…
… OR EXALT THE CROSS!!
May we reflect deeper on the autobiography of our lives, written on the Cross of our Blessed Lord…
… and thus preserve, nurture and beautify our lives – which is truly a “treasure in clay” – in holiness and love!
In the words of Ven. Fulton Sheen, “The ideal is to reach a point in practice, where, like Our Lord on the Cross, we witness to God even amidst abandonment and the agony of a crucifixion!”
Wish you a very Happy Feast of the Holy Cross!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
SEAL: The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing.
“The Father has set his seal” on Christ and also seals us in him.
Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders…
… the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible “character” imprinted by these three unrepeatable Sacraments.
THE HAND: Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.
In His Name, the apostles will do the same.
Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.
The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.
The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epiclesis. (Cf. CCC # 698-699)