Monday, March 8, 2010

Veneration of the Life Giving Cross

I love the third Sunday of Lent. Why? It reminds us of why we are on the Lenten journey in the first place. For those who choose not to follow the Lenten fasting practices, for whatever reasons, this Sunday is for them. For those of us who desire to follow the Lenten discipline of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we are starting to show signs of fatigue, of frustration, of somberness. This Sunday gives us encouragement to continue on because of the mercy and compassion that Christ showed on his way to the Corss. And for some, getting to this halfway point with more generosity to our fellow man, restricting our diet to fruits, bread and vegetables and praying every chance we get can lead very quickly to pride and hubris thinking that our own merits are getting us somewhere. This Sunday shows that there is no humility or generosity or compassion that even comes close to what our Lord accomplished upon His Holy Cross. In short, this Sunday has something for everyone: for the faster and non-faster alike.

When we appraoch to kiss the icon of our Lord's crucifixion, we should be very careful to notice that the Christ on the Cross is not just the suffering servant, but that He is still the compassionante theanthropos who became incarnate only to die with the sins of the world upon his shoulders, who extends His hands out as to invite us to Himself so that He may embrace us with the very same love that He displays in His being crucified. Let us not lose heart; let us gain courage; let us not be frustrated; let us gain hope! The Cross is the source of all virtues, it is the giver of Life.

Before Thy Cross, we bow down and worship, O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify!

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