If you watched any of the Passion-type movies over Holy Week, you probably thought at some point, “How could Jesus so lovingly embrace that cross?” What’s even harder to imagine is, “How can I embrace the crosses in my own life?”
Jesus himself said to take up your cross and follow him. And we have countless examples of the saints who did just that. Many of them voluntarily went to die painful deaths. Others seemed to smile through their suffering diseases. Trials either physical or emotional were peacefully endured.
How can they do this? How can love be that great to endure such pain?
I got a taste to the answer to this question this Good Friday.
Our CL Community (Communion and Liberation) leads The Way of the Cross through our city. It happens in other cities throughout our country, like NYC. Ours doesn’t have thousands, but maybe a hundred people who participate by following a wooden cross through a busy city and stopping to pray, sing, and reflect along the way.
It’s a beautiful witness to the community as people at work in the city pause and remember that this day, Good Friday, is a remembrance of Jesus who carried another cross through a busy, crowded city over 2000 years. People even join us on our walk through several blocks of office buildings, stores, apartments, and parks.
This year, because my husband was doing the readings, I had solo kid-duty. Not too much of a problem since most are old enough to keep track of themselves, but I still had the wiggly one-year old. Instead of passing her around, like we usually do, I decided to use the backpack. I love the backpack. Our little Esther can spend hours up there looking around and pretty much entertaining herself. Perfect for this. I can pray and listen to the readings. My kids won’t have to watch her either. They can pray and reflect along the way. But. . . after an hour, I know my back will begin to feel like it is going to brake. Call me a wimp, but I just am not a backpacker. This Way of the Cross usually is 2 hours long. Maybe I will be fine.
After an hour into the Way, I began to feel that ache in my back. What should I do? I can hand her off to a brother; or sit and rest somewhere; or endure it. I chose on this Good Friday with my hungry, weary body to endure it! (It’s not a hard decision to make in the midst of the Passion of Christ. Oh, that I could always remember Jesus suffering for me.) But Christ taught me another lesson here: How to Love the Cross.
On Jesus’ cross, he saw the faces of all of humanity. He saw my face, my family’s faces, your face, everyone’s. Guess whose face was on my “cross” at that moment? It was the face of my daughter, who I was carrying on my back. Oh how I love that face! And I love to embrace it.
Now I can imagine how Jesus embraced that cross that bore our faces. It was out of true love for us.
The next step for me as I am through Passion Week and into Easter is how can I always embrace my crosses. It won’t be easy when I can’t see a physical face of someone I love so dearly. I need to look harder at my crosses, just as the saint’s did and see Christ’s loving face.
Christ is behind every cross we have. This may be hard for us to grasp or understand, but these crosses come with Christ’s face, with Christ’s love. Don’t be afraid to embrace them and let Christ’s love carry you through.
If you look in the picture you can see the little pink hat of my daughter near the bottom right being carried on the back of someone who loves her so dearly.
Copyright 2013 Tami Kiser
About the Author
Tami Kiser is a wife, mother, teacher, author, and speaker. She runs a video production studio featuring Catholic speakers. These can be purchased or viewed on Formed. She also is the co-owner and host of a new Catholic Retreat and Cultural Center in the Carolina Mountains called Heart Ridge. She has taught everything from NFP, Zumba, cleaning toilets, Catholic crafting, the hula, bullet journaling, tap dancing, and liturgical living to Saxon Math 54 for the 10th time.