Circumstances and events seem to be overtaking each other in our world with a rapidity and earnestness that makes me want to cast an "anchor" out ahead to some near future point in time, in hopes of slowing things down and thereby proffering to those who seek well-pondered words of consolation and hope. I am already looking to September 14, The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, for space and inspiration.
Let me explain myself! In these days I have both read and heard decisive words, beautiful words from Pope Francis, from his representative in Geneva and from Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, during his visit to Romania (to choose a few examples). They offer encouragement and express genuine solidarity with the people of the Middle East and of Ukraine; in the case of Syria and Iraq, they reach out especially to the Christians of the region, and for Ukraine, they leave no doubt concerning their confidence and support for our beloved Catholic people of Ukraine, especially for our much maligned Greek Catholics.
The words, as I say, come and go too quickly, as the specter of persecution and death, amidst a flurry of false accusations from farther away, echoed by a careless press, continues to loom large, perhaps larger than life.
Reaching out ahead to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, gaining both a measure of reflective silence and distance on current events, let me just say that the Way of the Cross is indeed our way; we glory as did St. Paul only in that saving Cross. Our joy is His in the death-dealing, yes but, triumphant Wood of the Cross!
Some have compared the ISIS murders of Christian children to a replay of Herod's wanton slaughter of the Holy Innocents. The words of the Stabat Mater come to mind: "Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled, She beheld Her tender Child, all with bloody scourges rent."
What to say? I guess that we can hope that the suffering, whether of being physically injured or killed, or when falsely accused, would for the victims derive solace from our compassion and renewed courage for the fight, to see victory in the very Cross which dealt death to our Savior, being wielded then by Him to conquer death once and for all.
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