Look down upon me good and gentle Jesus, while before Thy face I humbly kneel and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment, while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Thy Five Wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Thy prophet said of Thee, my Jesus, “They have pierced My Hands and My Feet, they have numbered all My Bones.” [Psalm 21: 17 – 18]
This has been one of my favorite prayers since I was a child. There is something really powerful in the sign of the cross. As part of the Paschal Mystery it points to the intense love that Gos has for all peoples. Sin and sinfulness cause havoc in the human family especially in our relationship with God. I remember one writer suggesting that the sin and evil we find in the world today are sort of like growing pains. Until the finality of the Kingdom of God everything is in flux. In this constant state of getting reading, the world is in a mess.
The cross challenges us to understand that we are about God and God's kingdom. The Christian is counter-cultural and lives his or her life with the Passion, Death, and Resurrection in mind. Just as Jesus is lifted up on the cross, we are lifted up from our crosses by the Christ who loved us.
To be sure there are the Mother Teresa's and Oscar Romero's who had embraced the cross and brought life to others. But living the cross is also about sharing in another's sorrow, remaining faithful to charity and chastity, and embracing the dignity and integrity in life. The cross makes us strong in doing what needs to be done as disciples of Jesus Christ. God so loved the world.