Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
An Invitation to Love the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Agência Boa Imprensa-ABIM (Brazil), March 1994 (*)
The Crucifixion and The Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ (José Dias Tavares)
While commemorating the forty days Our Lord fasted in the desert, we should remember a great and supreme truth that should illuminate all Lenten meditations.
The holy Gospels clearly show how much our merciful Savior pitied our spiritual and physical pains. Hence, He performed spectacular miracles to mitigate them. However, let us not imagine that these healings were the greatest gift He gave mankind.
This would not take into consideration the central aspect of Our Lord’s life: He was our Redeemer, Who willingly endured the cruelest sufferings to carry out His mission.
Even at the height of His Passion, Our Lord could have put an end to all His pains instantly by a mere act of His Divine will. From the first moment of His Passion to the last, He could have ordered His wounds to heal, His precious blood to stop pouring forth and the lacerations on His Divine body to disappear without a scar. He could have overcome the persecution that was dragging Him to death and gained a brilliant and jubilant victory.
However, He did not will this. He wanted to be led along the Via Dolorosa to the height of Golgotha. He willed to see His most holy Mother engulfed in the depths of sorrow and He wanted to cry out in piercing words that will echo until the consummation of the ages: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
We understand that by calling each of us to suffer a portion of His Passion, He clearly indicated the unrivaled role of the cross in the history of the world, His glorification and the whole of men’s lives. Thus, we still must pronounce our own consummatum est at death, despite the pains and sorrows of life.
If we misunderstand the role of the cross, refuse to love it and fail to walk along our own Via Dolorosa, we will shirk Providence’s designs for us. We will be unable, with our dying breaths, to repeat the sublime exclamation of Saint Paul: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As for the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Any quality, however exalted, will be useless, unless it is founded on a love of Our Lord’s cross, with which we obtain everything, though weighed down by the holy burden of purity and other virtues, unceasing attacks and mockeries of the Church’s enemies and betrayals of false friends.
The greatest foundation, of Christian civilization is a generous love for the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ in each and every person.
May Mary help us, and through her omnipotent intercession, we shall reconquer for her Divine Son, the reign of God that flickers so faintly in the hearts of men.
(*) The preceding article has been translated and adapted for publication without the author's revision. Ed. American TFP.