Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Photo: R. Massaro: Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia Motherhouse Nashville, TN
Does this term have you puzzled?  You are not alone.  Until recently, I had never heard the term before.  This word describes one who has a fear of the cross, a crucifix, or cross-shaped objects.  Very interesting, indeed, when discussing the spiritual life.

While meditating on this subject, I immediately thought of one who is fearful of the cross: Satan. I'm sure we have all seen some image from a movie in which the priest confronts the evil spirit or demon with the Cross. Leaving Hollywood aside for a moment, let's bring this fear of the cross into our discussion of our spiritual life.

 Do you know someone who is very fearful of bearing one's cross in life?  Do you know someone who tries to avoid any pain and suffering at all costs? Do they complain at the least sign of discomfort?  Sometimes, as Christians, we are all about following the Lord wherever he leads, until it comes to the Calvary of our life, where we are called to die with Christ to our very self.  Although this death is a frightening prospect to most of us, we can be assured that someone will remain with us at the foot of our cross in life: our Blessed Mother. As Mother of the Church, she cares for each member. She will not abandon us or forsake us in our hour of need.  Let us remember to call upon her when the cross in our life seems too heavy to bear. Her prayers will give us courage and hope to remain faithful to the end.

As Secular Carmelites, we are called to prayer.  If we have remained faithful to prayer, we know that prayer brings the gift of peace.  This is the peace of heart, soul, and mind, that no man can impart to us. It is a pure gift from the Holy Spirit. Prayer strengthens us for service and strengthens us to accept the cross in our life each day.  When we are strengthened by prayer, we are given another gift of the Holy Spirit: Courage!  In this state of soul, we not only accept the cross, but embrace it in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  When we arm ourselves with these holy garments of virtue, we are becoming like the saints who willingly proclaimed Jesus as Lord, despite threats of torture and death.

St. John of the Cross teaches us to prepare for death by detachment from the pleasure of the senses and spiritual consolations. His "nada" spirituality leads the soul to desire Jesus Christ alone by way of the dark night of faith and embracing the cross. Many saints have gone through the dark night of the soul, however, even during this time of deep purification they remained faithful to Christ and were able to suffer with great joy.

As Secular Carmelites, let us look to our Holy Father, St. John of the Cross, a lover of the Cross, for inspiration and direction. He, along with St. Teresa of Jesus and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, will lead us safely through the dark night to purity of heart and perfect charity, where there is no fear.

Love has no room for fear;rather, perfect love casts out all fear. And since fear has to do with punishment, love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid. (I John 4:18)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, O.C.D.S.

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