September 14, 2006

The Triumph of the Cross

The feast of the Holy Cross brings a special little joy to Franciscans everywhere, because it reminds us that the great feast of the Stigmata is coming soon. All of the accounts of Francis' great mystical experience set the stage by saying that he was off praying alone around the time of this feast.

The Cross, most simply, is an intersection of a vertical and a horizontal beam. In this way it points to the most concentrated intersection of God's passion and human experience. And this point of contact, by God's mysterious design, is human suffering, loneliness, and despair.

So if you want to find God you have two choices. Go sit with your sisters and brothers who are suffering, or, if you're really brave, sit with the secret places you hate inside yourself where you are broken and ashamed and feel all alone.

1 comment:

Crescentius said...

My dear brother:

I have been meditating over this post and find great wisdom contained within. I have been "asked" to sit alone and look at those secret places you describe.

The part that shames me and makes me feel alone is the truth and reality that I am broken or put better, that I am human. I want so much to be like Jesus that I sometimes concentrate on his divinity to the exclusion of his humanity. What I mean is that I try and hold myself together and delude myself into thinking that I can handle things alone and thus not becoming vulnerable. I forget the 5th Station where Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross and selfishly think I can do it myself.

Maybe this is what the Stigmata is about; Francis is showing us in a physical way (to those like myself who don't get it at first) that we are all wounded. After this awareness of our woundedness we have to show it to the world; even I dare say celebrate it.