Why we need the cross

- Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - August 1, 2015 - 10:00am

One of the greatest disasters of our times is that many people, a great majority of them, have nothing but disgust and even hatred for the distinctive value of suffering. For them, suffering is an intrinsic evil, and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

The cross, the icon of suffering, should be nothing other than an ornament at best. It should not hold any other purpose or meaning.

This is the sad thing about our current world culture. It directly contradicts what Christ said: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mt 16,24)

The cross, in whatever form it comes, is actually the key that opens the spiritual and supernatural world meant for us. It widens our perspectives, and leads us to transcend the limits of our human nature. It enables us to enter into the dynamics of a love that is not only material but also spiritual, not only natural but also supernatural.

It represents the extreme and ultimate way of loving, as it invites us to go beyond the confines of our wounded human nature in order to soar to the divine love from where we come and to where we are supposed to go.

With the cross, we would know how to pay for the offenses and sins we have committed. It is the fair deal we are offered in exchange of the tremendous benefit it also gives us-nothing less than the possibility to love all the way to God.

God, and not just the sky, is the limit of our loving. That's why Christ gave us the new commandment that summarizes all the other previous commandments given to us-that we love one another as he, Christ, loved us. Christ is the standard of our love, and not just any human and natural value.

That's why saints and holy men and women, following the example of Christ, have always seen the cross as something most welcome in their lives, because Christ's love for us goes all the way to the cross. Pope Benedict says, "There is no love without suffering."

Opus Dei founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, echoing the sentiments of all the saints, laments that "the cross is still a symbol of death, instead of being a sign of life. People still flee from the cross as though it were a scaffold, when it is a throne of glory. Christians still reject the cross and identify it with sorrow, instead of identifying it with love."

Without the cross, we debase our love and restrict it to the purely sensual, worldly and temporal level. Without it, the wings of our love are cut as it functions only on the basis of practicality, convenience, popularity and other earthly values, motives and advantages.

This is what we see in all these rationalizations behind the move to pass the RH Bill, for example. Those for it, as well as all those who are for abortion, euthanasia and similar things, are espousing a kind of love that sees no value in the cross.

It's ok to contracept, it's ok to abort, it's ok to euthanize, because to a particular person, that may be the right thing to do. No one should dare to correct him, unless some immediate physical harm takes place.

They are developing a kind of morality that is not based on God who is love, bur rather on their own idea of what is good and evil. They make themselves their own God.

Since it's a morality that denies God, it cannot help but fall to the belief that there can be no absolute truths and no universal moral law. The corollary is that everything is relative to the acting person, to the situation, to the consequences, and to other circumstances and elements, etc.

Of course, it is ironic that what is relative and individualistic is now made the absolute and universal moral law. Everything is reduced to the thinking that what may be good to me may not be good to you, and vice-versa. There's no such thing as an intrinsically good act which should be fostered at all times, nor an intrinsically bad act that should be avoided at all times.

This thinking is contained in such ethical systems as relativism, situation ethics, consequentialism, proportionalism, and some peculiar variations of the so-called fundamental option and liberation theology.

Only considering the circumstances and ignoring the nature of the act itself and the agent's intentions, they detach themselves from God who loves us through the Cross.


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