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Feb 07th
Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. The Cross of Each Day, Especially on Ash Wednesday
The Cross of Each Day, Especially on Ash Wednesday PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Wednesday, 06 February 2008 01:06


here is no true Christianity without the Cross. Our Lord’s Cross is a source of peace and joy.


Our Lord, addressing himself to all men, speaks of the daily Cross. And these words of Jesus retain their fullest value. They are words spoken to all men who want to follow him. There is no such thing as Christianity without the Cross, designed for soft and pusillanimous Christians with no sense of sacrifice. Our Lord’s words state a condition that is absolutely necessary, a sine qua non. Whoever does not take up his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple (Luke14:27). A Christianity from which we tried to remove the cross of voluntary mortification and penance under the pretext that these practices are the remains of the Dark Ages or of an outworn Mediaeval era, quite inappropriate for a modern Humanistic Age, would be an insipid Christianity, a Christianity in name only. It would not have kept intact the doctrine of the Gospels, nor would it serve to induce men to follow in Christ’s footsteps (J. Orlandis, The Eight Beatitudes, Pamplona). It would be Christianity without the Redemption, without Salvation.


One of the clearest symptoms of lukewarmness having entered into a soul is precisely such an abandoning of the Cross, a contempt for little mortifications, a scorning of anything that in some way involves sacrifice and self-denial. On the other hand, to flee from the Cross is to turn one’s back on holiness and joy; because one of the fruits of the mortified soul is just this capacity to relate to God and other people, and also a profound peace, even in the midst of tribulations and external difficulties. The person who abandons mortification is inevitably ensnared by his senses and becomes incapable of any supernatural thought.

It would be Christianity without the Redemption, without Salvation.

There is no progress in the interior life without a spirit of sacrifice and mortification. St John of the Cross says that if few people reach a high state of union with God it is because so many do not want to. And the same saint writes: And if anyone wants one day to possess Christ, never let him seek him without the Cross (ibid).


We should not forget then that mortification is closely related to joy, and that when our heart is purified it becomes humbler, so that it can have closer dealings with God and other people. This is the great paradox of Christian mortification. It would seem that accepting and, furthermore, seeking suffering ought to cause good Christians, in practice, to be the saddest of people, the men ‘who have the worst time of it’.


The reality is quite different Mortification only produces sadness when there is in its practice too much selfishness and a lack of generosity and love of God. Sacrifice always brings with it joy in the midst of pain, the happiness of knowing that we are fulfilling God’s will and of making the effort to love him. Good Christians live ‘quasi tristes, semper etiam gaudentes’ (1 Cor 8:10) as though they were sad, but really always filled with joy (R. M. de Balbin, Sacrifice and Joy, Madrid).


With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at (

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 February 2008 02:47

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When I read about the evils of drinking,I gave up reading.~Henny Youngman