Today’s Thoughts: Today is a special feast in the Church and for the Passionist Community. It is the Feast of the Triumph or the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
As I read a reflection on today’s readings last night something the author said struct a nerve in me. The author of the reflection was focusing on the second reading for today’s mass from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. In his letter St. Paul talks about Jesus “did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” (Phil. 2:6). The author’s point or question was “Do we try to be equal with God, through our actions, our arrogance, our judgmentalness, our way of looking at or treating others?”
This question or reflection recalled something I often struggle with especially when I wander through social media. There are often post saying “Let us put God back in our schools!” our families, our country, or a number of other places. When I see a post like this I often think “How arrogant we are!” To think we have the power to take God out of something. That we have the power to tell God where to go, where to be present. Perhaps we not only think equality with God is something we have but that we are bigger, and better than God!
God is present in every school, in every family, in every person, in every place. God is everywhere, whether we acknowledge his presence or not is another question. We are not equal to God. We tried being that once at the beginning of creation and where did it get us?
This feast is about reminding us that like Jesus, we need to humble ourselves, realizing our human faults, failings, and inadequacies and allow God to direct, guide and enliven our lives. It will involve suffering, struggle, disappointment, and even failure. It will also involve the glory and presence on God in our life!
So, I offer you three simple prayers to guide you through this day and life...
The first comes from our Passionist tradition it is a simple prayer we utter each day - "May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ be always in our hearts!"
The second a prayer every Passionist prays before morning, evening and night prayer – “At the name of Jesus every knee must bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The third prayer was written by the great Jesuit theologian Fr. Karl Rahner, S.J. - "The Cross of My Lord, Be my Standard, Be my Comfort, Be the Answer to all dark questions, The Light of all nights, The Sign that You have chosen us, The mysterious and sure Sign that we are Yours for eternity. Amen."
These three simple prayers reflect the meaning of the Cross that we as Church and as the Passionist Community celebrate this day.
May the Passion and the Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ be not a sign of violence, oppression, war, and failure. May the Passion and Cross of Christ be a sign of God's great and unconditional love for us. May the Passion and Cross of Jesus be a walking stick that we can lean on to rest; be a protector in times of struggle and danger; and always be a reminder of just how much God love's us, no matter how imperfect we are as we journey through life!
Have a blessed, holy, safe, and healthy feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and Monday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...