US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Embracing the cross

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In order to make it to the celebration of new life, we have to sit with death on Good Friday first.  

Guest blog post by Angelica N. Quinonez

Holy Week. Mystery. We have spent the past several weeks in reflection, sacrifice, and prayer awaiting this week and the culmination of a season that ends in the promise of renewal. In the words of Revelation we hear the promise of Easter, “Behold, I make all things new” (21:5).

Christ’s death and resurrection have brought us the promise of new beginnings—the chance to begin again and be transformed through God’s love. We do not become new people in the sense that all our past is no longer with us. Rather, in the same way that the Christ who resurrected was the same Christ who lived, suffered, and was crucified, we are given life anew in the Easter promise as we continue to carry the visible and invisible marks of our past life as a testimony of our redemption. Just as Christ appeared to the apostles with the visible marks of his torture, so we appear with the marks that remind us that love transforms.

But, to find new life we must pass through death. Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality and Holy Week reminds us that death is not final; even what we deem is finite can be transformed by a loving God who chose to enter into humanity.

Sin was transformed by a man who embraced his fate and accepted death on a cross. And with the cross came humiliation, suffering, abandonment, fear, and torture. In that moment, on a cross, Christ experienced the pangs of humanity’s suffering a hundredfold, thereby bridging the gap between humanity and God that our enslavement to sin had created.

To live out the Easter promise as Easter People, we must embrace the reality of the cross and the cross itself. So often, I see churches removing crucifixes in favor of crosses or glossing over the harsh reality of Good Friday. Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid of seeing ourselves—people broken, fearful, sinful, and sorrowful—in the corpus?

True love can be painful, but it is also beautiful. Our Easter begins on the cross on Good Friday, where the truest of all love poured itself out to gift us with the opportunity to transform and have life anew. It is sin that condemned Christ to the cross, sin that he was crucified upon, and Love that readily and willingly embraced it all.

St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, "Love is the cross, and the cross is Love." This final week of Lent, let us embrace and celebrate the cross. Yes, let us celebrate the cross and rejoice in Christ’s triumph over death. And on Easter, let us accept the gift of new life and the ability to transform into God’s people living out the promise of our redemption.

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

May your Easter be blessed.

Guest blogger Angelica N. Quinonez holds a B.A. in English from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in Theology from the University of San Francisco. She is a 28-year-old San Franciscan, aspiring writer, and educator. She blogs over at Through A Glass Onion.

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Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.