the DAILY KNIGHT
Holy Week Reflection on the Cross of Christ
David Martin | The Daily KnightChrist at Calvary, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Holy Week is a time to renew our baptismal calling to fast from the world and to draw closer to Christ. It’s a time to put aside the fools-gold of this world and embrace the true gold of Heaven so we can be eternally enriched.
Unfortunately, many today are running head-long into sin, seeking wealth, pleasures, and worldly plaudits, forgetting that all worldly gain, be it wealth, acclaim, popularity, or honorary titles, will avail them nothing in the end. Christ came to deliver us from these vices that we might walk at liberty in him, so it is vain for Christians to put stock in worldly pursuits.
St. John the evangelist tells us, “Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15) The Apostle James reminds us that “the friendship of this world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4), yet people forfeit the friendship of God just to gain the friendship of the world.
The essence of Christ’s doctrine is that we die to the world and join with Him on the cross. This teaching is beautifully expressed by the Apostle Paul where he says, “I am nailed to the cross with Christ.” (Gal. 2:19) To not participate in the cross is to not reap eternal life. To endure the suffering of the cross is necessary for salvation, as taught by the Savior Himself: “Whosoever does not carry his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (Matthew 14:27)
Christ came to deliver us from the world and to call us home to His Everlasting Kingdom, but this will be done through the cross. He went before us to open the way, but His Sacrifice avails us nothing if we don’t follow Him. The way to Heaven is to strip oneself of worldly interest and to press after Christ with our cross, in keeping with the words of St. Paul: “I suffer the loss of all things, and count them as dung, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)
The Cross of Persecution
The Apostle assures us that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution“ (2 Timothy 3:12), but it is the cross of persecution that procures the greatest blessings. “Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in Heaven.” (Matt. 5: 11,12) We are called to join with Christ and to endure the rejection of the world, remembering the words of the Savior, “If the world hate you, know that it has hated Me before you.” (John 15:18)
The world will reject this truth, as it has for 2000 years, though this rejection has reached unparalleled heights at this last hour. If we have apostasy today it’s because of the present-day revolt against the cross. And what is the cross but the Sacrifice of Calvary planted in our midst—the Mass.
The Mass is Calvary Planted in our Midst
Christ underwent His Sacrifice on Good Friday, but at the Last Supper He instituted this Sacrifice as an ongoing Sacrifice that would continue in perpetuity. The Mass is not a symbol or mere commemoration of Calvary, but is the actual Sacrifice of Calvary reenacted on the altar, though it be mystical and unbloody. Each Mass is one and the same Sacrifice, not many. The priest is merely the instrument used (Alter Christus) through whom Christ daily perpetuates His Sacrifice among us.
Hence Christ has planted His death in our midst, which is why the Crucifix is above the main altar in the churches, since it reminds us of what we are attending. St. Paul says that each time the priest follows the commemorative formula of Christ to elevate the bread and chalice, he shows forth “the death of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
Some will say, “Why does Christ want to come and die among us?” The answer is because He loves us and He wants us to die with Him. In our baptism we are baptized into Christ’s death (Romans 6:3). Through our baptism we take on the robes of the Passion and walk the path of mortification, because we are members of His Body and are called to be one with Him. That is, we die with Him—we die to self and sin, we die to the elements of the world.
Jesus foretold His Passion and death when He said, “The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified.” He went on to say that those who follow Him into death will keep their life eternally. “Unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it remains alone. But if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world, keeps it unto eternal life.” (John 12:24,25)
The Mass summons us to participate in Christ’s Sacrifice and to meditate on His death. Through the Mass Christ draws us into union with His own sufferings, that through these sufferings we might be purified of our defects and be united more closely with Him.
True Active Participation of the Faithful
In this manner we have our “active participation” in Christ. All the busy-body activity since Vatican II is but a farce and a trick of the devil to pump people up with pride so they can feel important. This robs them of their true participation in Christ. Active Participation means picking up our cross and suffering with Christ. It means contrition for sin and amendment of life. It means shunning human encounter and remaining dead to the world.
The Mass then is Christ’s way of sanctifying His people that they may learn to die to the world and walk with Him in the way of the cross. This will explain why the devil unleashes so much fury against the cross, because the cross is our salvation. Satan’s work is to turn the world against the cross, evidenced by the ungodly changes we have seen since Vatican II. What we have witnessed since the Council is a conspiracy to discredit the Mass with change so that people will leave the Church and not be associated with Christ on the Cross.
Turning Modernism on Satan’s Head
Making the Church ugly with change was part of Satan’s plan to drive the good Catholics from the Church, but today’s sacrilege nonetheless provides an excellent meditation for the spiritual man who meditates frequently on the Passion. For while it was never deemed that Jesus Christ be re-crucified in His Church, today’s sacrilegious scenario can be turned on the devil’s head and used to deepen our meditation on the Passion, and thus advance our union with Christ.
For the ostentatious body exposure of lewd women in Church are the insulting scourges that violently beat and lacerate Our Lord’s pure body. The denials and false protestations coming forth from the pulpit are the sharp thorns that modernists are driving into Our Lord’s Sacred Head with the mallet of their intellectual pride. The excessive talking and celebrating in Church is a replay of the jeering crowd that danced around the cross, as they too celebrated that the suffering Jesus was finally done away with.
And as in Jesus’ time, so it is today that the high priests are the ones stirring up the people against the cross of Christ. The Mystical Body is truly passing through its Passion, but the followers of Christ needn’t despair because Christ has given them the remedy to triumph in this battle, namely, the cross. The standard of the cross has been the victory of the saints and martyrs down through the ages.
Christ is Invincible
If there is one lesson we learn from The Passion of the Christ, it is that Jesus Christ can take a punch. When they stripped Him of His garments and cloaked Him with a dirty purple rag, He didn’t drop dead with the first blow but endured many hours of abuse.
Likewise, when modernist innovators stripped Christ of His royal, liturgical garments (TLM) and cloaked him with a dirty Novus Ordo rag, he didn’t automatically expire but has continued with us, fulfilling His promise that He would remain with His Church “even to the consummation of the world.” (Matt. 28:20)
The faithful of the last times are called to join with Christ at His tabernacle, in imitation of the Blessed Virgin and St. John who remained at the foot of the cross amidst the turmoil and sacrilege. Their example sets the stage for the true apostles of the last days who are laboring to remain faithful under siege. Fleeing the cross and hiding underground accomplishes nothing! Loyal Catholics are called to defend Christ in their parish churches and not leave Him hanging before His enemies. We are called to share in his cross, so that we can one day share in His resurrection. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:12)
Let us resolve to do just that, being confident that this royal way of the cross is the holy path marked out by the Savior that will lead us directly to the Kingdom of Heaven.
“My Kingdom is not of this world” — John 18:36