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Facing The Cross In Our Lives: Spiritual Exercise 03/14/22

Thank you most devout friends in Christ for your prayers in the healing of Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT ❤️

Please join us Monday 03/14/22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm ET). ✝️🕍

Zoom: https://us05web.zoom.us/j/4537185699?pwd=emRVOEZwMTY1eGN1bzYrU2VldWhiZz09

Opening Prayer: The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen

Facing The Cross In Our Lives

Nobody has come into this world with more courage than Our Lord Jesus Christ. The two things we fear the most, and spend our lives trying to avoid, suffering and death, Jesus embraces from the beginning, as a fundamental part of His mission.

There is no life in God without the Cross and the power that flows from it. Holiness and ultimate happiness are impossible without this wellspring of every grace we need for our journey back to the Father. The Cross is about infinitely more than suffering and death.

In this light, the most important ongoing work of the spiritual life is identifying sin, (facing its poisonous effects in our lives,) and then taking that sin and its venom to the Cross for forgiveness and Redemptive healing. This is prefigured in the Old Testament story of the Saraph Serpents in the desert.

The Israelites are in exodus from Egypt. God is in the process of liberating them. But, because the journey is arduous and difficult, they rebel and begin complaining against the Lord and against Moses. To show them the true nature of their sin, God sends Saraph serpents among them so that many are bitten and die.

This is a mysterious story. One curious question which raises itself is why the word Saraph is used. It is a word that typically describes angelic beings of the highest order (seraphim), not snakes. Satan or Lucifer, is traditionally held to have been a fallen seraphim. His manifest sin of course was rebellion. Once one enters into rebellion it opens the door to every other kind of vile and evil thing, multiplying as it were the poison of sin in our lives. Could it be that the snakes thus described, also represent the deadly bite of sin, the sting of satan, which the people had exposed themselves to by rebelling?

As the people realize the consequences of their sin, Moses intervenes for them before God, and God instructs Moses regarding the remedy. He is to fashion a bronze image of the serpent and to pin it or mount it on a pole so that any who are bitten and look upon it can be saved.

Jewish teaching offers the idea that the elevated serpent reminds the people of their sin but also redirects their thoughts to God Who is our supreme healer.

Equally mysteriously, we know Jesus tells the disciples that like the serpent in the desert, He must be lifted up so that all who look upon Him and believe may have eternal life. -Jn. 3: 14-15 Jesus, though sinless, takes sin upon Himself and nails it to the Cross so that it can be vanquished, annihilated in our lives.

Years ago, a Priest from New Mexico who worked in the healing ministry shared that when he was a boy, he heard the story of Moses and the mounting of the serpent on a pole for the healing of those bitten. It translated in his child’s mind to his father’s alcoholism. He took a beer can and mounted it on a pole and placed it out in the desert/Mesa where he had a little fort. And he would look at it in the same way the Israelites did who wanted healing, forgiveness, courage, redemption. God was already forming His future Priest to the power of the Cross at that early age.

Still, it is hard to face the Cross. It involves pain, sometimes the deepest pain we can imagine as we recognize our complicity in crucifying Our sweet Lord in all His goodness. And yet, the very thing that we are guilty of and which wounds us and others, must be faced so that the power of Christ can come to rest on us, redeem us and heal us.

Lent is a graced time to identify the sin in our lives and to mount it on the wood of the Cross so that Jesus can drain its power right out of our lives. The bite of sin does not have to kill us, but unless the sin in our lives meets the saving power of Christ, it will.

1. The suffering of the Cross comes to us in different ways. Sometimes the source of suffering in our lives comes from the effects of original sin; sometimes it is the effect of our own personal sin. And sometimes, it comes from the sins of others against us. If you had to symbolize the suffering in your life right now, what would that symbol be? What would you take to the Cross for healing?

2. All sin and all suffering has to be taken to the Cross for healing, Redemption and restoration. Is there anything in your life you hold onto and have failed to give over to the Lord? Anything you are ashamed of that you hold onto? Story of St. Jerome and Our Lord.

3. The idea that rebellion is a mother to other sins is easy to understand. Pride works this way as well. Unrepented sin spawns more sin. Do you have experience of this in your own life?

4. What is your experience of healing and liberation in Christ? What far-reaching effects has it had on your relationships and your life in general?

Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.

Amen

We look forward to hearing your beautiful voices April 11, 2022.

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