The Cross: An Invitation To Begin Again

Lenten Reflections with Br. Michael Perras, ofm

Have you ever had one of those Lents which felt like you were stuck in traffic in a construction zone? Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Move a bit forward. No movement. If so, you are not alone! I know for myself and a few others this Lent has felt this way. It’s not because of a lack of a plan or resources. Sometimes those plans get sidelined, other times they get railroaded. The Third Sunday of Lent is a good time to refocus. St. Francis of Assisi is known for saying, “Let us begin again for up to now we have done very little.” He made this statement near the end of his life. If he could say it then surely we can use it as an invitation to step into this Third Week of Lent.

The very familiar Exodus text of the Ten Commandments gives us some encouragement to begin again as it reminds us to look at our relationships. Who am I in relationship with? How is my relationship with God? Which relationships need healing and forgiveness? How is my relationship with creation and sabbath time? The Ten Commandments are not punishments to live by rather they are our guideposts which can lead us into the depth of relationship. They help us to hear the Lord’s words of everlasting life (Psalm 19) spoken into this season and into our living; inviting us to begin again.

The Season of Lent obviously draws our attention to the Cross, with its “message of the foolishness of the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1.18). St. Francis spent many of his days caught up with his attention on the foolishness of the Cross and Passion of Christ. We may not be able to spend our whole day caught up reflecting on the Cross like St. Francis, but we can begin again each day to contemplate its wisdom and strength. It may be as simple as signing ourselves with the cross as we get out of bed, or considering each street intersection we go through in a day as a reminder of the cross. It may be as we go for a walk and notice branches in a tree or strewn on the ground or take note of the streaks in the sky calling us to praise God for gift of the Cross.

The cross branded onto us in Baptism and Confirmation is not just a one-time moment. It is a being claimed in Christ which is to then live in the Paschal Mystery. The temple of our body is signed with Christ not to be destroyed by the ways of death and destruction of the world, rather to be transformed into the likeness of who we truly are as children of God. May we be consumed this week with courage, goodness and zeal for this Lenten journey whether it is already going well or as we begin again.

By your Cross and Resurrection, Lord Jesus, you have set us free.

Photo Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger

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