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May - June 2016

WHAT DOES THE CROSS MEAN FOR US?

"I bear in my body the wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ"

Every Orthodox monk or nun tonsured to the Great Schema wears a garment under their clothing bearing the above phrase. In the Church, there are always those who express the opinion "Yes, Father, this attitude about bearing the Cross is well and good for the monastics - but for us? This is simply too monastic, too strict?" These people would have us avoid the Cross.

It is always striking to see the difference in attendance between the penitential services of Holy Week, and the crowds who come to Liturgy (or part of the Liturgy) to enjoy the service of Pascha. They too - quite literally - avoid the Cross of Christ.

There also exists the temptation, too common our faithful, to try to take on some extraordinary spiritual feat, such as strict fasting, long prayers, and heavy spiritual readings - most of which we never follow anyway.

Where do we find the Cross of Christ in our lives, from which we can receive the Resurrection - if we want to find it at all? The means of our own spiritual resurrection is always close at hand. It can be found in bearing others with patience, and holding our tongue when we feel the need to always correct them. It is found in bearing painful ailments without grumbling, as well as bearing painful relatives and coworkers in the same way. It is found in setting aside our own search for consolation: in this we too may bear in our bodies the wounds of Christ, which also save us.


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