In the Voice of Moreau: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” With these words, our Lord reveals the profound truth at the heart of the cross. To encounter the living God is not a positive emotion. It is not another sensory experience among a myriad of sensory experiences. It is a cold, hard spiritual fact. It is quite necessarily an experience of abandonment. For, it is the turning away from the consolations of this life that puts us in touch with the life to come. Sacred, “set apart,” our father by definition must be absolutely other-than-this-world. Study the cross. See that it is not a rejection of material forms, emotions, the human body or sensory experiences. Rather, the cross demands that these things simply be put into right relationship with their creator – they must be “ended” as it were. Hence Jesus himself declares that “it is finished” at the very moment that he hands over his spirit. But what will happen to us when we no longer have these things to hold onto? What will keep us connected? We are human and have bodies after all! The cross is the placeholder. The cross keeps our senses and bodies grounded. The cross empowers us to open our hearts to the one true God. The cross makes the risk of faith possible. Let us therefore “die” all of the obstacles in our spiritual lives so that we too might enjoy the glory of this abandonment. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: To deny oneself anything material or corporeal takes courage and stamina because it is an attempt to restrain the beast within. That beast has been called names such as the ego or the shadow. For the Christian it is original sin—that constant battle of the dark trying to overwhelm the light. Climbing upon the cross with the Savior, at one and the same instant, is to fall recklessly into the bottomless pit of abandonment and into the loving embrace of complete fulfillment. Mounting the Cross takes faith. In 1891, Brother Paul the Hermit (John) McIntyre, C.S.C. wrote to Father Sorin. “Once more I beg leave to trouble you with a request to be permitted to accompany the Missionaries who are about to start for Bengal…. I may not be of much service in India, but I do wish for a trial. At the time of my profession my vows were accepted by my superiors with the full knowledge that I had the desire for this work which I have ever since been craving you to assign me. Do not refuse me, Very Rev. Father, the chance to complete the sacrifice of myself for the greater honor of God and the Good of my own soul. Remember the many times I have besieged you, even at the risk of earning your displeasure.” (Letter to Sorin. 1891.) His request for such trial and sacrifice was denied yet again. Staying at Notre Dame, he went on to become the business manager for the Ave Maria Press, a Master of Novices, and in 1906 an Assistant Superior General of the Congregation. His death in 1920 was marked with many accolades, yet he was most remembered for his humility. Humility is the breastplate that keeps the prideful beast at bay and provides the courage to mount the Cross. CSC educators who are true sons and daughters of Blessed Moreau model temperance. Through their reflective lesson planning, they manufacture lectures and assignments that assist students to embrace the same sacrificial oblation unto the Lord. Educating the hearts of those entrusted to us has never been as needful as it is today because the beast finds so many forms of hedonism to engorge upon. Ave Crux Spes Unica!