Towers And The Cross

Today, we remember back 15 years ago to the horrific events that affected those of us who can remember and color the worldview of those who came after. It was one of those moments that shook us to the core, what was certain and secure before became less so. Our peace of mind was ripped from us, we reeled about looking for something solid to grasp.  As horrible as the events of 9/11 are, sadly, they are just another in a long line of life shattering moments that mankind in general, and each of us in particular, go through on our journey.

Living in this world is a journey full of turmoil and sadness, there is just no way around it. Just when we think that things are moving forward as we expect or hope, something barges in that throws us for a loop. Many events are great, world shaking events; some are natural such as: tornados, hurricanes, volcanos, tsunamis, and some are manmade such as 9/11 and terrorism, state declared wars such as WWI, WWII, holocausts such as the Shoah, Cambodia, Armenia, Rwanda. These are great and devastating events that affect us all to varying degrees; but there are the more common and more painful personal events that affect each of us as well; the ones where our personal pain is intense, interior, and they isolate us, make us doubt. The journey of our lives here on earth are paths between and through these horrible great and personal moments that take our sensibilities and throw them and us to the ground.

But, we have hope, indeed a hope that is more powerful than any and all of these tragedies. Every time we are thrown down and our eyes are blurred by fear and tears as we search for meaning and security; we can look up as Mary and John’s eyes did to behold that greatest hope – the Cross with Christ upon it.

The Cross, the central point of all that is unshakeable, all that is foundational.  The Cross, an instrument of destruction which became the center of creation – because it holds the creator upon it.  The Cross, a means of humiliating defeat and death, which is now the tree of life. The Cross, that should drive away our hope but now holds eternal hope. The Cross, in which is now enshrined Love eternal, for all to see.

Brothers and sisters, let’s stand next to Mary and John and look up at the Triumph of the Cross. Let’s never take our eyes and hearts off of the pillar that holds creation together. If we do that, all that we endure will gain for us a closer communion with Jesus Christ. If we do that, then all the tempests that buffet us will not drive this victory from our hearts, indeed they will bear fruits from God.

St Paul of the Cross: ‘Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces![1]

[1] St. Paul of the Cross

St. Teresa of Calcutta

Today, the world is given a new person to look up to; to admire; to emulate, or so the press is proclaiming.  Today, the media is feeding us a large dose of saccharine about this person St. Teresa of Calcutta. In every online article I read and TV news segment I watched I was informed about this sweet, energetic and sort of tough old lady who helped people no one wanted to help. And this is true, but it is not the fully written icon of this wonderful saint.

What was missing was the reason for her life – God. Sure God was referred to, how could he not be, after all, it is the Church who declares her a saint. But, in most presentations God was referred to quickly and the church even more quickly; of course they did mention Pope Francis frequently; after all, he is the darling of the mainstream media – he makes good copy – especially if they parse and cut his words to fit their agendas. No, these watercolor-type news stories kept far away from what drove St. Teresa – love of God and the cross.

St. Teresa of Calcutta has been proclaimed great by the media, not by the Church.  St. Teresa of Calcutta has been proclaimed the doer of astounding things by the media, not by the Church. What the Church proclaims, is that great things sprouted up from St. Teresa’s little acts of love. What the Church proclaims is that her ‘greatness’ is that her life was one of decrease as her love, Jesus Christ increased. What the Church proclaims is that her daily, constant, decision to love Jesus, and those He loves, was a constant cross that she resolutely carried. What Holy Mother Church proclaims is that by her self-surrender to the Lord, He was allowed to be fruitful through her.

Today, we celebrate the proclamation of another example of love which in this case is a verb not a noun. Today, we celebrate the proclamation of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s sainthood not by reminiscing and reveling in warm feelings, as if we are sitting together looking at family photos; but by following her daily choices and offering our own efforts to carry the cross, our cross, as she did so that our true love Jesus can be fruitful through us as well. Today, along with Saint Teresa of Calcutta we hold the Cross high.