Aleteia

We hope in the Cross because it cannot, does not change

ENITREA
Gail Orenstein | NurPhoto | AFP
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Not even the darkest schemes of the worst devils could wrinkle the endurance of the cross. For this reason, the cross is a sign of hope.

Faithful cross the Saints rely on,
Noble tree beyond compare!
Never was there such a scion,
Never leaf or flower so rare. 

Founded 1,000 years ago by St. Bruno, the Carthusian Order has a reputation for an extraordinary continuity. Boasting the same essential practices since their founding, it is said of the Carthusians, “Never reformed becaused never deformed.”

The Carthusian way of life is unchanging, perennial, timeless. Even the motto of the order hints at their steadfastness: “The cross remains constant while the world turns.”

The cross is steady.

The cross is constant.

While the world turns …

This Good Friday, when so much is unravelling before us, when so much is different, when so many new challenges lurk, while so many sorrows linger, the cross is steady. The cross alone is constant.

Our blessed Lord suffers in His passion the loss of everything. His friends abandon Him. He endures great physical suffering. He is mocked and belittled. The justice system fails Him. He is stripped even of the clothes off His back. 

Nothing shakes Him from His mission. The cross is carried. His course is set. He continues on unabated, steady, constant.

In 1998, when Pope John Paul II’s health began to seriously deteriorate, then Cardinal Ratzinger described the Pope saying, “The pain is written on his face. His figure is bent, and he needs to support himself on his pastoral staff. He leans on the cross…” The Pope could lean on the cross. 

Only Christ could carry such a cross. Only Christ could make the cross constant. Only the Word through whom all things were made could set something firm in the course of creation. Only one who knows things totally, from the depths, can make something unshakeable in their midst.

The earth quakes. The temple veil is torn in two. The Scriptures and prophecies of old are fulfilled. And the cross remains.

Not even the darkest schemes of the worst devils could wrinkle the endurance of the cross. For this reason, more than any other Christian symbol, the cross is a sign of hope.

We Christians cross ourselves as we begin to pray. We wear the cross on chains about our necks. We put the cross on our cars and on top of our churches. We are marked with the cross at Holy Baptism, and year after year on Ash Wednesday.

It is a sign of promise. It is a sign of God at work in our midst. It is a sign of hope. If Holy Thursday is the feast of charity, Good Friday is the feast of hope.

Hope is the longing for that which is to come. Hope allows us to move beyond our own strengths and fears. Hope is to trust in the promises of God.

Teresa of Avila describes hope saying,

Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.

The cross is our hope. Steadfast and enduring, it is at once the sign of God’s faithfulness and the promise of the glory to come.

Faithful cross the Saints rely on,
Noble tree beyond compare!
Never was there such a scion,
Never leaf or flower so rare.

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