In the Voice of Moreau: The Crucified Form was born into the world in a single instant. As an infant, our Lord was completely dependent on his mother in a way that will become the mature faith of the Cross upon which he commended his spirit to his heavenly father. His placement in the manger, literally “to be fed upon,” will become the life-giving Eucharist bursting forth from his sacred side. His swaddled body will one day be wrapped in a burial cloth and laid in a tomb. The baby Jesus is the same person as the King of the Jews, but do we take the time to appreciate this mystery? How did he get there? How was the Cross finally realized? The fact is that Jesus made the journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. After thirty-some quiet years, he set out from the safety of his home and passed through trials of all kinds – temptations from the evil one, persecutions by the leaders of his own religious tradition, being misunderstood by family and friends, sleepless nights, fear and anxiety, darkness all the way up until the end. The lesson of Christmas, therefore, is that we have to become who we are. We have to muster up the courage to put out our hands and allow the Master to take us to the place where we do not want to go. Only then, when we have arrived on Mt. Calvary, can we at last be said to have been born. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: The 14th century British Pearl Poet wove a tale about a medieval knight Gawain. He sets off on a quest. His call to leave Camelot came from the otherworldly Green Knight who challenged the untested knight to a game which Gawain lost. He goes on a quest and travels a road of trials. This trek becomes a process of discovery for him as he gradually and clearly begins to recognize his limitations and becomes who he is meant to be. His reward is death to his former self and birth of a new self. The final phase of Gawain’s adventure is not simply a return to Camelot but to return like Lazarus—resurrected from the tomb. For Christians the death of the Cross is the road to the kingdom of Christ resurrected. Thomas á Kempis writes: “Who is forced to struggle more than he who [has] tried to master himself”. Living life as one who is questing for the Crucified Lord, according to Kempis, is to obtain a “humble knowledge of [the] self.” This is the path to our God who begins humanity in a straw-filled manger that beckons Him onto a Cross of redemptive glory. How does the CSC educator assist students to assess, to enlarge upon and continually to focus upon a “humble knowledge of [the] self”? It is by intentionally Christianizing every component of the education of the mind. Superior General Gilbert Français writes in 1895 that a basic education includes “…reading and writing in their diverse forms; sacred history, the history of Our Lord, the abridged history of the Church, the history of the country in which one is a resident, together with accurate notions of universal history; a thorough knowledge of the geography of one’s own country, as well as a considerable acquaintance with the physical and political geography of other lands; practical arithmetic in its entirety; practical geometry; the elements of natural history and cosmography; commercial arithmetic and bookkeeping; elementary physics and chemistry; a summary of rhetorical principles with the practical applications; elementary drawing; stenography; type-writing; the general principles of music; and some knowledge of hygiene and gymnastics”. Although a few of the listings are now antique, in essence this is the curriculum of every high school and college in the Congregation. The Holy Cross way is to imbue each facet of the general curriculum with those essential questions about how all this mind-matter must inform our quest for self knowledge, so that all may be for the building up of the Body of Christ. This education relies upon the intentionality of every CSC educator. Ave Crux Spes Unica!