Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 28

Glorious Cross  February 28

Veneration forever to the shroud, stained with blood, in which the body of Jesus was wrapped! (Proper liturgy of the Crosiers, second Friday of Lent).

Look at the body.  Don’t be afraid to fix your gaze on it.  Look at the face, now pale in death, but once radiating the peace and joy of living in God.  Look at the eyes, now shut to the light, but not long ago looking with love on children, the rich young man, the woman caught in adultery and bathed in tears over Jerusalem.  Look at the ears, now deaf to the sounds of life, but which once heard the lament of the widow of Naim and the cries of the poor.  Look at the mouth, now silenced, but which had spoken of the love of God, the pardon of sins and the Kingdom of Heaven.  Look at the hands, nail-marked, limp and lifeless, that touched the sick to heal, the children to bless, the hungry to feed and the possessed to be calmed.  Look at the chest, now pierced through, rigid and cold, that before heaved with emotion at the death of his friend and was a place of warmth for the head of his beloved disciple.  Look at the feet, nail-marked as well, mangled and immobile, that used to walk on water and travel everywhere with the Good News for the poor.  Don't be afraid to look long at the deceased Christ and to worship him.

The grave is the way to life.  (Baoule)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 27

Glorious Cross  February 27

The living elements of our tradition include . . . a commitment to the life-giving Cross (Const. 4.1).

The Cross is the most significant emblem of our Order.  Our name marks us:  the Order of the Holy Cross, the Crosiers.  In our history, many of our churches were named in honor of the Cross.  Our habit shows the Cross.  In our liturgy on Fridays, we give attention to the Cross.  Our most important feast day is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Our Constitutions propose the Cross as the symbol of our total service to the People of God.  In many Crosier communities, there is a preference for the image of the Glorious Cross, of the Cross depicted with jewels.  This jeweled image does not want to deny the suffering of Christ, nor that of his Body, the Church.  But it proclaims the message of the Cross in its wholeness:  the Cross leads always to life in abundance, to glory.  The Cross, whatever its design, always evokes Gospel hope.  Through the Cross, Jesus conquered death and all evil in the human world.  The Crosier without the Cross is inconceivable.

Nobody hides his sickness from the doctor.  (Bamileke)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 26

Glorious Cross  February 26

For you I struck down the kings of Canaan, but you struck my head with a reed (Reproaches, Good Friday).

I answer you.
The little ones always feel powerless,
    in need of someone to be their champion.
We confess that you are there
    to dethrone the Pharaohs, the Nebuchadnezzars, the Caesars.
But why do you seem to delay so much,
    leaving us far too long in the hands of despots,
    in situations where we even lose our dignity,
    in the choking grip of evil?
Are our cries not loud enough to get your attention?
Does not the stench of our spilled blood move you?
Why does the clamor of our falling not incite you to react?
Forgive this impatience and lack of confidence,
    that has made us violent people, even toward you.
If we lift the reed against you in our pain,
    take it as the howl of intercession to awaken you
    rather than the act of rebels to dishonor you.
Save us quickly by your Cross!

Nothing can escape God’s awareness, but he pretends to lower his eyes.  (Madagascar)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 25

Glorious Cross  February 25

The power of the cross reveals your judgment on this world and the kingship of Christ crucified (Preface, Passion of the Lord I).

The blacksmith is a muscular man, capable of withstanding the heat, mastering fire to fashion implements of iron.  He is at ease with the noise and sparks that come from his confrontation, deliberately provoked, with the material that resists him.  The blacksmith perseveres until his new creation is finished.  He accomplishes and his accomplishment endures.  This is a prophetic image of Christ (Is 2:15), combative and persistent, worker and master, conqueror and ultimate sovereign.  His strength is in his obedience.  He has faced diabolic strategies that sought to eliminate him, turning them to his own advantage by his strong arm.  He turned his face resolutely toward Jerusalem without fearing the heat of battle in order to fulfill his destiny.  In the midst of the cacophony of the lies, the whip, the stumblings on the way and the hammer blows, he gently breathed his Spirit over the world to forge a new reality.  He is himself risen, modeling what he is making.  One day he will return with a flash of glory, the final moment of appreciation of all he has done.

Blacksmiths don’t lack burns.  (Burundi)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 24

Glorious Cross  February 24

We wish to see our fidelity to the Cross most especially in our dedication to fashioning a truly evangelical community through our acceptance of our life and work, and in our apostolic presence where human and religious needs call out to us (Const. 2.2.).

In the Garden, the communion Adam and Eve had with God was the guarantee of a life lacking nothing.  There was nothing to poison their happiness.  But, in the end, their “no” to God created an insidious virus at every level of their existence that threw them off balance and provoked a multitude of anxieties that were unknown to them until that moment.  The assurance of immortality was sapped by physical, even incurable, weakness.  Their clear headedness dimmed, their path in life became fraught with danger.  The joy of their married and family love exploded, fragmented by egotism and fratricide.  With their wills broken, no project was certain.  The loss of intimacy with God made their hearts unstable and agitated in a search for whatever consolation.  This is the heritage of sin that still disrupts human balance.  Its antidote is the Cross of Jesus with assured healing, but a healing that is not instantaneous.  It is rather like the growth of a mustard seed.  Meanwhile, we live with confidence and attentive to the cries of others in distress.

Wood left on the ground is devoured by termites.  (Baoule)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 23

Glorious Cross  February 23

With regard to this triumph of life over death, it is important in our mentality that chastity puts us “in quarantine” so that the mystery of the Cross might be fertile (Congolese Regional Statutes, Intro., 1.25).

Fertility or sterility, that is the question of life.  It was the concern of the Creator looking at the earth about to be created:  “and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss”  (Gn 1:2).  In response, God opted for fertility and for six days “God said” so.  Throughout the history of creation, the creative effort of God has favored fecondity:  that the universe evolve, that the earth and its inhabitants be fertile, that man and woman reproduce, that Israel grow, that Christ give birth to the New Creation.  At the same time, there was a sinister effort toward sterility, whose sower was sin.  Its power was finally completely crushed by the Cross of Jesus.  All activity henceforth associated with this Cross, whether an initiative or a renunciation, has as its objective to reverse sterility and to make the world fertile.  Every Christian involvement should be verified by fecundity.  Celibate religious men women in the Church are involved in service with this conviction:  chastity, far from sterility, makes fertile the Body of Christ to bring forth a more abundant life.

Nobody closes up what is full.  (Shi)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 22

Glorious Cross  February 22

Our profession is a personal act of dedicating ourselves, empowered by the Spirit, to follow Christ in his total and free devotedness to the Father and to others, which reached its completion on the Cross (Const. 10.2).

Following Christ as people of the Cross is first to be in solidarity with everyone who suffers.  As people of the Cross, we must also courageously protest, in the Spirit of Jesus, against the causes of human suffering.  What’s more, as people of the Cross, we are called to compassion in the use of talent, time, energy and other resources to help suffering people.  But solidarity, protest and compassion are not enough.  Christ wants even more.  We must finally proclaim the great message of hope, the Good News, that the forces of evil in the world have been vanquished by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus.  The forces of evil no longer dominate life, even if the contrary seems true at certain moments. Jesus has won the victory and his victory is at work in the world until the last day of history, when its full realization will be revealed.  To transmit this hope is the summit of pastoral work with suffering people.

You love the hen; you have to love her eggs, too.  (Kusu)