Ellen Mongan contemplates what happens when we let our crosses block our view of Jesus.
I love being a Catholic. While attending Mass, you can either find me closing my eyes in expectation of my Lord, looking at the cross on the altar, or contemplating a stained glass window or two in my view. This is how I enter into worshiping my holy God while attending Mass.
Let’s face it: despite all my efforts, sometimes my mind wanders. This happened one Sunday morning at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Grovetown, Georgia. Mass had begun, and I opened my eyes to view the cross above the altar. To my dismay, I was attentive enough to notice that even though I could see the cross clearly, it was blocking my view of a favorite stained glass window of Jesus.
Judgment rose within me as I questioned, “Why would they place the cross right in front of that stained glass window? It is blocking my view of Jesus!” I immediately turned my wandering mind back to the Mass. However, the question still lingered.
Soon I approached the altar to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Returning to my seat, I closed my eyes and prayed. My thoughts were on Him alone. When I opened my eyes again, I noticed that my husband had vanished. I politely moved over, making room for his return. The cross was no longer blocking my view of Jesus, to my surprise. I was elated that I could see Him clearly.
What had changed? I chuckled to myself when I realized it was my view. Moving over a seat changed everything. It made sense now why my husband did not respond earlier when I asked, “Why would they place the cross right in front of the window with Jesus?” He could see Jesus all along. The cross was only blocking my view of my Savior.
The Holy Spirit used that incident as a teaching point in my life. What did Jesus do when He left for the garden, knowing what suffering was ahead for him?
Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26)
Praise almost always follows surrender. With eyes on Jesus alone, we are able to walk on water as Peter did, work miracles like the disciples did, and focus on what is to come rather than what is before us. He impressed on me that Jesus chose not to let the suffering before Him block His view of what was to come. He concentrated instead on surrendering His will to the Father. His eyes were on His Father alone. He trusted His Father with His whole being.
After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. (Luke 22:41-44)
Is the cross in your life blocking your view of Jesus? Sometimes a trial or circumstance in life takes residence in the forefront of the mind. The view we had of Jesus seems to be hidden behind that cross. What is blocking your view of Jesus?
Is it a relationship problem, an illness, a loss of a job, or a wayward child? When your vision is obscured, worry, doubt, and fear flood our thoughts. You may even feel like giving up. It is at times like this you may need to change your view and remember who Jesus is and what He has done for you as sung in this old song,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
This is the time of year to make a new start. Let us make 2022 the year of daily surrender to Jesus. Let Him be Lord not just on Sunday but every day of your life. An “Our Father” is the perfect prayer to begin each day. Let “Thy will be done” always be on our lips. Let us fulfill what God has called us to do.
“God withholds Himself from no one who perseveres.” These are the words printed in a circle around my favorite picture in that stained glass window I wrote about. They soothe my soul. Do not let the cross in your life block your view of Jesus. Remember, God withholds nothing from those who persevere!
Copyright 2022 Ellen Mongan
Image: Copyright 2022 Ellen Mongan, all rights reserved.
Lyrics to the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" are in the public domain.
About the Author
Ellen Mongan is a Catholic writer, speaker, and host of WOW MOM podcasts. Her book, WOW MOM: A Walk with God, is on Amazon. She contributes to Catholic Mom, Women of Grace, and Augusta Chronicle. Her most important roles as wife to Deacon Patrick and mother of eight led her to ministry. Learn more and contact her to speak at EllenMongan.com.