The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
September 13, 2020
''He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death
even to death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him... ''
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is Monday, September 14.
There once was a man who felt he had an unbearable cross to carry and was given the grace to ask the Lord if he could choose another one. God did allow him to put his cross back, with the reminder that every Christian is given the grace of a cross to carry in imitation of Our Lord. So the man was asked to go into a big room to pick out another cross more to his liking. Here he found a room filled with crosses of every shape and size (though they did not have labels on them exactly describing what the cross would be). After careful shopping, the man returned to Jesus with a small cross that he thought he could carry. "This is an interesting selection”, Jesus said. "You have chosen the same cross you came in with!"
Most of us have probably wished we could exchange a “cross” we are carrying for something else at one time or another. The spiritual book, The Imitation of Christ, warns us that even if we should succeed in running away from the cross we have been allowed to carry, we are likely to find another which is likely to be even more difficult for us to carry than the one we thought we had escaped from!
In our own era things have gotten to the point where in Syria and Iraq Christians are literally being crucified. I wonder if we pray for and aid these people enough. I know I pray for these Christians every day and I do not feel it is enough. Yet, as awful as all of this is at present, one can only imagine the glory and grace that will accompany these people into the next life. Those who have endured such things for Christ's sake will bear a special likeness to him that none of us will be able to comprehend. Yet still, they must bear the cross now. The glory will come later, as it did for Christ himself.
My cross makes exactly as much sense as Christ's did, no more and no less. The cross is literally the key that turns the lock of heaven, that place where we all want to be in the end, which is the goal of our lives. Jesus does not normally give us his cross to bear, but rather one of our own to carry, one that he knows we can bear. This cross, if borne well, will in turn lead to our sanctification, will aid others in their own struggles, and will glorify God greatly.
We do not truly know we love someone until we are willing to suffer with them somehow, and this is why Jesus allows us to suffer with him now.