The Noblest Relic: Our Cross

Lent 4 Saturday

John 9:39-41

“Jesus said: “I have come into this world for judgment so that those who do not see become seeing, while those who see become blind.” And some Pharisees heard this and said to him: “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would be without sin, but now that you say, ‘We are seeing,’ your sin remains.””

 

Christ came to teach us to close the eyes of the devil in us and to take away the blindness so that we would not make a distinction between the young and the old, the pretty and the ugly, etc., but would consider them all equal, wise or fool, intelligent or dumb, man or woman, and be content with the fact that our neighbor is a man of our blood and flesh, who shares a common body with us. You need a fine, sharp, and well-practiced reason for this. Christ does not consider outward differences; for he gives honor and children to an old, misshapen woman rather than to a pretty one, as is clearly shown in Rachel and Leah. It makes no different to him where he lets his work shine forth. … St. Paul says, “God’s call is such that it receives the sick and the fools in order to confound and put to shame the wise,” 1 Corinthians 1:27. Now, since this is what Christ does and considers evil what we consider good and vice versa, he takes away everything we desire and gives us everything that annoys us. This is what Christ does. God was made man … and in his last days we find what we consider to be the worst evil, dying a shameful death. When we consider his whole life, we do not find that he took on anything that was good before the world. He once rode into Jerusalem with great honor and made his joy bitter with pain. Now, what God has is the noblest thing: death and dying – these Christ takes on with love and a wholehearted joyful will, out of obedience to the Father. We flee these and consider life to be nobler than death. He embraces sweetness, gives his life for death. And at the time when he was to ascend the throne of glory and reign with his Father forever, he must – and does so willingly – die on the cross, let go of life, and embraces death. Now, since Christ did this, I defy all who want to enter heaven without following him. And the true relic the prophet mentions, Psalm 21:12, consists in the cross. It is so holy and exalted that you cannot put it into any monstrance, any silver or gold. This relic is not any wood or stone he touched while on earth. It is the cross he sends his good children. No goldsmith can make a vessel for this relic to enclose it. It need a reasonable, living, eternal monstrance. For the relic is alive as the soul of man. This is why we are to seek the inner relic, not the outward one. … Therefore, let those who have a high station in life disregard this station and lift their eyes higher. For Christ will send them something that is better than anything they can find in the world. For he will send them adversity, sorrow, fear, worries, grief, poverty, unwillingness, and disease. And at the end of your life, in your last necessities, the devil will constantly assault you, frighten you, and he will do that in such a persistent manner that you must despair. … But let everyone note well what pleases God in order to speak joyfully: “Alas, my dear God, I am fully convinced that you have sent me this. Welcome, dear relic. I thank you, my good God, that you deem me worthy to experience what was the noblest thing in your life. Alas, my faithful Christ, help me; I want to accept it boldly and follow you, surrendering my will.” Then the devil’s whole power is soon overcome. This is the noblest relic. We are to receive it gladly with thanksgiving. For God himself hallowed and blessed this relic by his noblest will while his Father was well-pleased.

 

St. Louis ed., 12:1309-1311.

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