Why I think St Paul said the Cross is considered foolishness and a stumbling block. (1 Cor 1:23)
From the aversion to Christianity and religion generally, it’s pretty obvious the Cross is considered an outdated symbol. But what about those who say that despite carrying ‘many crosses’ they feel only Joy? That’s my experience.
After reflection, the “mystery of the Cross” came to mind. Why is the Cross and those who embrace it considered foolish? Modern thought such as secular humanism and positivism push out the Cross, but I have three theories also.
First and foremost, man turns away from the Cross’ because of its contradictions. There is no neutral position in regards to the Cross, man initially looks upon it and either fully embraces it or turns away. No fudging. Why? I think the Cross is ‘discretely intrusive,’ in that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He is not going to force anyone to accept His Cross. But when I do so and repent, I experience His fruits of peace and joy.
Second, bad witness. The tragedy of the prosperity gospel is that it looks at the Cross once, then skips past the holy beams to indulge in so called ‘promises’ that one will be wealthy for following Christ. ‘Just dessert please, no trials.’ No wonder people think Christians are phony materialists just like the rest of the world.
Third, Christian conversion is not a static, one-time event. The Cross comes down into my world to weave itself into my daily choices, emotions and acts. But I must allow it in my soul. More often than not, I must reject taking hold of the proverbial, prosperous ‘it’, whatever the ‘it’ happens to be at the moment- be it money, healing, property, leisure, recreation, in exchange for something greater than myself- a cause for social justice, someone’s feelings, a desperate single parent, the child in the womb.
Fourth, “Cross” is not a fun, prosperous sounding word. In ‘fear’ I contemplate the Cross’ narrow way with its Sorrowful mysteries, the shouts and terrible pain Jesus endured in His Cross on my behalf. Then I experience a clean heart, with ‘trembling’ gratitude and awe, the comforting moment with His mother on the Way and the Glorious mysteries of the Resurrection.
A practical footnote: For its configuration of a Cross surrounded by beautiful beads, the rosary mingles the Son of Man’s Sorrows with man’s Good News, which instills a sober but joyful mindset fixated on the beautiful things above, the things that really count. It is a relief that it’s not about me anymore.
Name it and claim it? No thanks, I’ll take the Cross…..