“They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying His own Cross, He went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him”
– John 19:17
Sometimes life can seem very hard to us and we can struggle to manage everything that is asked of us. This may be particularly so in these days of pandemic, which brings with it so very many issues.
Many are feeling a sense of anxiety or even fear – fear of the virus and of catching it, fear of the unknown, fear of a return to ‘normal’ life. And for so many others, the pandemic has already brought great suffering – for those who have fallen ill and for their families; and for those who have died, often alone and without the Sacraments of the Church.
It may be that in these days, our Faith is sorely tested.
This testing of our Faith can take many forms – is God real? Does He really love us? Why is He letting this happen? Why has the Church abandoned us? Why did my relative die alone and without the Sacraments?
The reality may be a little different than we think. Yes, God loves every one of us – and He never abandons us. As for the Sacraments – these are the normal conduits of divine grace, but God is not constrained by them; He can distribute His mercy and graces as He pleases, even when we cannot receive the Sacraments of the Church, such as in the present moment.
It may be that the very awareness that our Faith is challenged leaves us feeling insecure – do I really believe? What does the Church really mean to me? Am I a bad person because I think these things?
I doubt we are alone if any of these thoughts have entered our minds. This is a time of insecurity at many levels – and at such times, we often look a little more deeply at what we believe. The very act of looking not only clarifies, but it strengthens as well.
In looking for the answer to so many of the questions we may have, we can do no better than to look to the Cross of Christ and to leave all our concerns there, at the foot of that holy Cross.
Upon that Cross, the Lord Himself expressed His sense of abandonment – and the reality of it, too, as almost all of the Apostles left Him, only the Blessed Virgin and Saint John remaining with Him. As Son of God, Jesus knew exactly what was to come – and yet He did not shirk the task He had come to fulfil. Despite falling three times on the way to Golgotha, still He got up and continued His sorrrowful path up that blessed hill. Earlier this morning, I read a line someone had written – that the love of Christ keeps our hearts beating, even while causing His Heart to stop. The Cross is both the sign and the reality of that Love.
We do not have the prescience of the Lord in knowing why things are happening, nor what is to follow – but we have Faith. Our Faith is in Him, the Lord of the Cross.
And in looking upon the Cross on which He hangs, our Faith is renewed and enlivened and we are granted the grace and the strength we need to continue amid all the difficulties of life, whatever form they may take for each and every one of us – and they will most certainly come, for that is the nature of this life.
But also in looking upon that holy Cross, we are reminded that our hearts are set beyond this present life, and to the one still to come.
In these days, may the Cross of Christ be our strength and our salvation, and may we leave everything there, at the foot of the Cross.