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The Sweetness of the Cross

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Christianity today is struggling; arguing not to carry the cross. People are asking, why do I have to carry ‎my cross? why do I have to suffer? Do I have to suffer to be a Christian? Is this really necessary? ‎

When we hear the Lord asking us to carry the cross and to share the Cross with Him, it is a call to share the ‎Lord in His grief. Him who said, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death.” We cannot ignore that suffering ‎is important; we feel pain in this suffering. This is the bitter side of the cross. ‎

But on the other side, it is very sweet. When the Lord calls us to carry the cross, He asks us to carry the ‎sweetness of the cross. ‎

When Isaiah the prophet looked to the cross, it seemed to him that the crucified one is despised from God ‎and from men. He had no shape, not beautiful, no one was eager to see the crucified one, especially the Lord who ‎suffered too much. Then he saw the Lord bowing his head, and all of creation putting their hand to the Lord, to ask ‎him to lift all my suffering, pain, trouble, sickness, transgressions, disobedience, all our faults, death, etc. This is ‎why St. John the Baptist said, “Behold, this is the Lamb of God who carries the sin of the world.” ‎

On the other hand, the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross sees the hand of the Fr., and my hand, and puts the ‎hands together. This is the completion of Reconciliation; the pleasure of the Lord; the Holy Spirit, all the heavenly ‎hosts, all the believers that they see this reconciliation between God and man is fulfilled. ‎

You did not say today I am troubled; I am thinking of Hades; I am thinking of my sins…but only you put ‎my hand to His and paid the price; so that the Holy Spirit could come within me. This is the sweetness of the cross ‎to reconcile us to the Fr. through the merit of the blood of Jesus Christ. ‎

Open the eyes of the world in this age to see the amazing of the Cross. We hope and pray and work so that ‎the Holy Spirit enlightens the hearts of men to see and taste how sweet the Lord is. The Psalmist says, “Taste and ‎see how sweet the Lord is.” ‎

Our problem is that we have HEARD much about God, but we have not TASTED Him. We need not ‎just to know about God, but to be united with Him. ‎

St. Augustine said in His prayers, “O my God, I searched too much for you. I looked for You in nature, ‎through books, through friends, through arguments, and in fact, You were in my inmost parts, in my depth, much ‎more deep than me, and higher than my eye could see. I was looking in my foolishness for You outside of me, but I ‎found You within me. When you pray “Our Fr….” don’t look to the heaven, but look to your inner man, and say ‎the prayer for He is dwelling within you and the heaven is within you.” ‎

These are God’s words, who said that the Kingdom of heaven is within you. Why are you looking for God ‎outside of you, while He truly is inside of you! ‎

Perhaps you will say how is the Cross sweet for you? ‎When I share the crucifixion of my Lord, I share in suffering, but I look to my Lord who is suffering with ‎me. Instead of being absorbed in suffering, I am absorbed in vision of the Lord, the Crucified One. This is the ‎sweetness of the cross. You cannot attain this revelation of God unless you accept to share the Lord in His ‎crucifixion. ‎

Do not think that the carrying of the Cross is only bitter suffering. When we hear the voice of the Lord ‎telling us, “I am carrying the cross with you,” I forget all pain, all tiring, all temptation, suffering, sadness. It is only ‎enough to see you on my right carrying the Cross. I will think of nothing else… ‎

The Lord calls us to carry His Cross not to be in grief, but to see Him and have fellowship with Him. We ‎ask “O Lord, can I carry the cross with You? Can I be with you on Your right? Lord, I am not worthy to carry the ‎Cross with you.” This is too great a blessing. ‎ How many people, in fact, while they were carrying the cross discovered the open gates of heaven and all ‎their hearts and minds, all their feelings and senses were absorbed in heaven, itself?. They loved the heaven and ‎rejected the world. The Cross is the royal way to heaven itself–to enjoy unity with the Fr., in the Lord Jesus ‎Christ, by the work of the Holy Spirit. ‎

Do not say, “Thank God I don’t have a cross to carry.” No, we must search for a cross to carry. It is a ‎gift from God to share with Him in His crucifixion. When you are tied, don’t say “Oh, I’m tired I will postpone my ‎cross until tomorrow. No, I say I will pray and carry my cross to be united with Him. I will fulfill Your ‎commandments even though I will lose my own desire, or comfort.” ‎

The Cross allows us to accept everything. And I consider everything as rubbish to accept the world. ‎Through the cross we will discover that the world is nothing to me to be compared with God and Heaven. I will sell ‎everything to buy the precious pearl, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. ‎

Think every day, can I carry my cross with joy? Do I search for the Cross in my life. One of the pious ‎wealthy ladies in Alexandria went to St. Athanasius, and said, “Fr., I am in need of someone to help me. Can you ‎find me one of the poor widows to help me?” then he chose a very modest and kind worker. After a week he met ‎her and asked about the widow, she said, “O my father, I am in grief.” You sent to me a person who is not the person ‎I am searching for, for she will not help me.” So he sent someone else, someone who is very severe and ‎every time she insulted her and was strict with her. You sent the person to help me to have a place in the ‎kingdom of God. I don’t want someone praise me or help in material things; but to help me in my salvation. When ‎someone insults me and I accept it joyfully. ‎

If someone working with you insult you and curse you, then you complain and report him or talk to ‎Abouna. But when someone like this was sent to St. Athanasius, she said, “this person won’t work.” Send to me a ‎person who is not perfect, so that I may be perfect. We are always looking for the easy way out. We do not want ‎to walk in the royal way of the cross, the narrow way. ‎

Accept this way for this is the way of your salvation. Find something to be thankful for, without ‎complaining. I look to fulfill the divine commandments, not at the expense of the worldly way. St. John ‎Chrysostom says forget the world, stay committed to the Lord for this is the way of your salvation. We hope to ‎carry the cross with you and convert the sadness to joy and become Your holy children surrounding Your throne in ‎the kingdom of heaven.

And Glory be to God forever Amen. ‎

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