In the Voice of Moreau: If you have ever been with a person who is dying, you know that “to die” is a mysterious thing. Death is not simply something that happens to you, as if the grim reaper goes around kidnapping people from the face of the earth. At the same time, death is not something that a person can simply will, as if one could separate soul from body at any given moment. Rather, “to die” is the paradoxical state of letting go of the here and now while at the same time confronting the unknown. The fact that the Latin verb morari (“to die”) has a passive form but an active meaning attests to the unique phenomenon of human dying. When we look upon the Cross, do we see this glorious tension? Do we see the patience of our Lord as he bids farewell to this world paired with his eagerness to commend his spirit to his heavenly father? Perhaps we think of ourselves as having an assertive and dominant personality type, but do we see our Lord’s vulnerability on the Cross? Maybe we think of ourselves as having a meek and reserved personality type, but do we see his courage on the Cross? Whatever the case may be, let us enter into the mystery of death with our whole hearts. Let us realize our deepest human identity in this paschal way of life. Let us die daily and set this valley of tears on fire! Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: What is the happy medium between graceful acceptance and prideful denial? I suggest that it is in a healthy renunciation of the self-imposed rigor of living up to a secular, consumer-driven society’s standards. God reminds the prophet Samuel that “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” For Christians the attempt to measure up to external templates sets us in constant flux as we repeatedly engage in the battle to die to self aggrandizement. CSC educators need to be concerned about their students and frequently encourage them to take up arms against the daily onslaught of the false prophets of physical beauty, intellectual promise and dog-eat-dog promiscuity. All disciplines of academic study can so easily become oriented to promote living to the max, that too much is not enough, that excess is the access to fulfillment. Educators must look for moments during lectures and student application exercises to insert the truth of the Cross. Our deepest human identity is not defined by external manifestations of the acceptable but by the moderating influence of a heart that has been formed in love unto the death of self need for the betterment of God’s people. Ave Crux Spes Unica!