Carrying our Cross effectively is an art form. What is accepted in tragedy becomes in potential created goodness. Through the suffering you and I endure each day, wounds that are both physical and spiritual, we are healed and transformed into a fullness and an embodiment of our Creator, the Holy Spirit, Hagia Sophia, the very person of Christ Jesus residing within the soul. ‘I in Him and He in me.’ ‘ if you desire to be My follower says Christ Jesus, we must be willing to pick up our Cross and begin to follow Me’. Why the Cross? Why, through suffering? Haven’t we been taught in society to avoid at all cost the suffering that is naturally ours each day? The Cross is the antithesis of pleasure, the enemy of pleasure. Yet, what is born through the carrying of our Cross is inner harmony and a joy beyond our human understanding. How can this be? How is it that the acceptance of struggle, pain, and brokenness there blooms an internal happiness which radiates outward, reaching out into the very center of the universe. A healing energy is created through the carrying of the Cross. In this creative process a spiritual transformation ensues. A piece of art is created by the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Hagia Sophia. The acceptance, through free will, of the Cross along with the ability to carry this Cross, one becomes an artist. In collaboration with this Hagia Sophia the artist within each of us has the potential to transform our broken world into a world that is full of possibilities. The virtues of Faith Hope and Charity become in a sense, our paint brushes, they become the mode of creating the energy that transforms the brokenness we see all around us into a wonderful master piece of art. What is born from this “fiat”, this “yes”, of ours, is a Love and Inner Joy our world so desperately needs. Through our struggle of carrying of the Cross we become a new creation. Our world becomes a new creation. When we create we are artists. Prayer is none other than relationship. God in His infinite wisdom invites each of us into this relationship through the acceptance of suffering. Suffering means exactly what Christ Jesus said it is, ‘To be My disciple you must pick up your Cross and follow Me”. The mystery of why He chose suffering as the main way to follow Him is actually quite simple to understand. The acceptance of Suffering is the most repugnant aspect of daily. life. We find our life is full of ways in which we seek with all our might to avoid it. The “world” teaches us we are to avoid suffering. That suffering has no redeeming qualities. Yet, once we do accept to embrace the mystery of suffering and its transformative properties, we begin to enter this relationship with an open loving God. The mystery we enter into becomes a delight and we learn “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Christ Jesus uses the analogy of the “yoke”. This instrument is designed for relationship. When we are “yoked” together, we work together and the fields we plow are plowed together. Christ Jesus works with us to till the soil, a metaphor for our daily life. The yoke becomes more than just a symbol of relationship between creation with Creator, it becomes a union between Lover and the Beloved. Christ assures us that we do not walk through the difficulties of life alone. Christ is “yoked” to us in which the two have now become one. The contemplative life is not a one stop shop, for like life, it becomes a daily experience lived every day. It is a saying “yes” to this relationship every day. We must enter into the darkness of Faith that complete trust that our invisible God will reveal Himself through the action of suffering. God willingly enters into the dirt and the muck we deal with each day. God walks right by our side carrying the Holy Cross right here with us. God is not afraid to step in the mud with us, to get dirty with us. But He waits to be invited. God does not force us into relationship, yet without Him life with all its struggles becomes nearly impossible. The weight of our Cross becomes an object that has the potential to crush us under itself. With or without Him, we must understand that daily suffering continues to exist. Suffering is buried deep into the very fabric of our life, as part of our very marrow. We learn this at a very early age, yet God continues to quietly and patiently reach out His hand toward us and invite us into an intimate Union where two hearts begin to beat as one. Thus, reminding us we never, ever have to walk it alone.
Your brother in Christ Jesus,