“The cross is a dynamic power in my life
“The cross is a dynamic power in my life”
+ The cross does not refer to the catastrophe or the temptation that faces man; on the contrary, it is the daily experience to unite with crucified Jesus. It is our weapon to conquer the world and the hymn of victory over the desires of the ego and physical desires.
+ For each and every person, the cross is the center of communication with God: for the priest, for the gentlemen for young ladies, for university students, for the employee in his office, for husbands and wives - for getting in touch with the world - with people - with sellers - in means of transportation, along the streets …
+ The cross is our weapon during the spiritual war. It is the source of our love and service to all people. It is the source of amazing condolence at times of suppression. It is the path to freedom, happiness and surrendering to God’s will.
+ If you lose your cross you are no longer a Christian. If you lose the cross experience in your life, you lose your experience with God the Father - because the Golgotha was a meeting place between man and God - It is the place of love and forgiveness and victory over injustice, surrendering to God’s will and the joy of the Son ..
+ The cross is my life: there is no real life except through the cross. The relation between the cross and me is dynamic, I nail my ego to the cross and through the cross, and the world is nailed to it. The cross is the source of my knowledge about God’s love to me.
+ Purity is the clue to spiritual power:
When lust overwhelms the body, it turns it into hell burning up with physical desires, which usurp all human powers and make him lose insight, in this way Samson lost his might. His eye that was greedy after Dalila set fire in his heart, which later took-away his powers, deprived him of eyesight, and made them use him to do the work of a ball.
First: the eye is the lantern of the whole body (Matt. 6:22)
If the human eye is overtaken by lust, it loses its insight and as a result, the human body loses its lantern and lurks in darkness. My eye alone has the ability to turn my life into darkness if deprived of the light of Christ and as result all the senses of the body act in darkness, and fill the heart with darkness … hence the whole body turns into a dark grave.
- The human eye serves as a camera to (the human body) man:
Through the eye, the pictures are printed in one’s mind exactly as the camera shots are printed on the sensitive film - then one can print out thousands of pictures from this film. hence the crucial role of the eye, for through it many pictures are taken in favor of Satan who prints out of it thousands of copies to put it on show at any time arousing in man lustful desires torturing man and turning his life into hell … for One’s thoughts turn into a center and source of photos to be put on show even after many years, even in one’s dreams … even after repentance and confession!!!
O my God, you taught me to start a new … you even told me “pluck your eye” … O my God … how can I restore the lantern of my body and my lost insight??? Shall I shut my eyes or pluck them???
- Disengagement between troops:
Man owns three important powers: eyesight, thought and heart (emotions), these three are the lost crucial sources of power in my life. To regain purity to your eyes you have to free your thought and heart from watching evil by the power of the cross of our Lord, which is the weapon of victory.
An example is when the eye sees a certain scene, one’s thought at the very same moment would be occupied thinking about God and the Lord’s cross would be the disengaging power, thus able to keep the thought preoccupied by heavenly thoughts driven away from the scene watched by the eye. Hence one’s thought becomes free thinking only about God, then, the eye becomes a simple eye able to see the light of God in the whole creation because man’s thought would be concentrating on God and his heart occupied by this love. The church expresses this act of lifting one’s heart and thought to God in the prayer of the sixth hour (sext) when the Lord was nailed to the cross: “.. By the nails with which you were nailed rescue our thoughts from going astray on earthly deeds and worldly lusts to the remembrance of your heavenly commandments according to your compassion.
This prayer expresses clearly the disengagement between worldly desires and rescuing one’s thought from going astray, rather guiding it through the cross and the nails to Divine scenes. This takes place through two quick journeys:
a) Nailing one’s thoughts: so as not to go astray roaming in worldly scenes in order to release one’s sight from enjoying lust.
b) Lifting up one’s thoughts to stick to God and remember heavenly commandments.
+ The crucified eye:
The eye is inclined to look and watch here and there … the human eye desires to look and see. The prophet David once watched and desired … Adam saw the tree “enjoyable to watch” (Gen. 3:6) … “Whoever looks to desire” (Matt. 5:28)
The children of God have other scenes to enjoy watching, namely our Lord’s cross. We should look carefully at the Lord’s cross, contemplating the scene thoroughly: the scene of the Lord falling down under the heavy yoke of the cross, the scene of His wounds, the scene of His slashes, the scene of His, the scene of his nails, the scene when they spat on His holy pure face, the scene of His thirsty mouth, the scene of His stretched arms, the scene of His bending head …
These are enjoyable scenes that the human eye should practice enjoying watching and be satisfied … These seems are enjoyable and satisfying … The scenes of the Lord in His different situations: his scene while carrying the lamb that went astray (myself), the scene of him, the father embracing me, and him knocking at my door, the scene of the woman, the sinner shedding tears at His feet. These are satisfying rich scenes.
Also, every picture of our lady Virgin Mary is satisfying and causing contentment and happiness to the human soul.
Thus, the human eye is no longer contented with worldly scenes as it becomes satisfied with Divine scenes.
+ The crucified eye is controlled and consecrated to God: Such an eye practices during prayers to be holy and pure, thus treasuring the enjoyable scenes of the Holy Cross, for the mind to make use of these scenes contemplating them to sleep peacefully showered with these pure, holy scenes.
+ The crucified eye is a plucked eye:
Plucking one’s eye is a commandment in the bible. It is a beautiful picture of the power of the cross that is granted to every one of us. Abraham took his only son (His only eye) to offer him in sacrifice happily to God, considering obedience to God great profit, greater than the loss of his only son … God, almighty, seeing his loyalty, honesty, ;Ove and happiness to sacrifice his son granted him to see the Lord’s day (meaning, the day of His crucifixion). Abraham rejoiced seeing the Christ slaughtered in place of his own son who came back alive. thus if you were honest and serious to avoid an evil sight to the extent of crucifying your eye (i.e. plucking your eye), then God, seeing your honesty, would grant you a pure eye, the moment you decide to pluck it, raising the knife to do so. This plucking of the eye takes place by intention with the power of the cross - it has a positive, victorious power without suppression filled with joy of getting in touch with God’s infinite power and might of the cross for salvation.
- The eye of Christ:
It refers to the human eye that was freed by the power of the cross from all worldly sights. It is a simple eye as one of the fruits of the effect of the cross. It is the eye fixed on all what is related to God, thus viewing God in all His creation whether a sinner, the tax collector, the thief .. God becomes the central view … it a consecrated eye stamped with the Holy Meyron.
Second: The enjoyable cross (the cross of joy)
Yet, I wonder why do we still may attain such a sight that is not simple and pure, although we know that the eye is the lantern of the body and may deviate and cause the whole body to sin and end up in hell ?!!
The reason and motive to this is the temporary delights ‘he looked to desire’ (Matt. 5:28). Then this may lead to form physical trend that may enslave man, ex.: the sexual delight or that of eating (gluttony) or long time of sleep and laziness. This physical delight strangles the spirit of perseverance, spiritual struggle and constant reading of the bible. Moreover physical delight leads to evil looks and the inclination to read worldly magazines and newspapers, watch TV, enjoy trivial gossiping and read trivial books which is spread everywhere in the world nowadays, and the mind would go astray aimlessly, spending the night in foolish talk … etc. then, on the spiritual level, man becomes spiritually dull like a feather that is covered with mud. The pure soul is like a feather, very delicate in nature that could soar up high in prayers and spiritual contemplations above all world matters. But if it is spoiled by physical pleasures, then it would be covered with mud and not only fails to soar up high but rather falls down very quickly.
- Pleasure (physical pleasure) is like a hook in the hand of the evil one; used to entrap us to fall into sin. So if the hook gets hold of one’s eye or tongue or ear it will cause the whole body to fall down.
- Crucifying pleasure: this kind of pleasure must be nailed to the cross. This can be achieved through fixing one’s eyesight on the wounds of the Lord on the cross. This puts an end to sexual lust. Contemplating the Lord being thirsty on the cross gives meaning to fasting. Fasting is not only to stop eating, but rather to put an end to gluttony. Contemplating the Lord being stripped of his garment puts an end to the desire to put on different fashionable clothes competing with one another serving temptation among human beings.
Hence, we can feel the dynamic effect of the cross in our lives, as it turns into an experienced reality to crucify every day and every time all worldly and physical pleasures. Then the cross should be a daily experience and becomes part and parcel of our lives following in the steps of the crucified Lord.
+ The pleasure and delight of the cross:
Along the ages, among all generations the cross remained a delightful hymn, pleasure for the eye, enjoyable tune to the human ear. The Lord’s body and blood became the most desirable food for every Christian, together with the word of God; it is more delicious than honey.
Spiritual failure and man’s crave for sexual pleasure and worldly matters, whether food or clothing is due to being deprived and enjoying spiritual pleasure during childhood. If one practices to enjoy the word of God and the contemplation of the cross then one’s self parts with all physical pleasure. Then, let us all go back to the home of our father to enjoy His loving bosom. Let us leave the food that is meant for the pigs i.e. world matters and loving pleasures of this world. This was very clearly expressed by Augustine, who was indulged in physical desires and pleasures, but when he repented and came back to the Christ as he discovered the true pleasure in the Christ, he said (chatting with his mother): “We sat together chatting with great joy about these heavenly wells that overflow with life … as we did so, all worldly pleasures became trivial in our eyes that we even never referred to them or mentioned them in our talk compared to the happiness that we enjoyed, soaring up high towards God until we reached up to the endless space where thou God sit, feeding the righteous people the food of truth forever.”. One of the saints used to consider worldly pleasures mean rubbish, if compared to spiritual pleasures.
Third: The cross of the thoughts
The human mind is a center of endless, unlimited speculations meant to praise the Lord and his unlimited love embodied in the cross. All speculations have specific motives. For example, when the heart is filled with hatred there reside in the mind thoughts of anger, thinking evil thoughts about others wishing had things to happen to people whom we hate. And when the heart is filled with arrogant feelings, the mind dwells on thoughts of superiority and judgement for others, imagining oneself to be a saint. When the heart is preoccupied with the self (ego) then thoughts of fear crawls into one’s mind, fear on one’s safety, worry about the future, fear people, imagining dangers and threats around us, believing that people have evil intentions meaning to harm us. If man spends his life looking for worldly pleasures and suppressing such desires within himself then sexual thoughts will fill his mind and his life turns into hell. The only way to control all these desires and thoughts is through contemplating the Lord’s cross, where hatred melts and would be replaced by forgiveness and love … Arrogance would disappear and would be replaced by the meekness of our beloved Lord who kept silent all through … Fear, vanishes to be replaced by surrender to the Lord’s will. All sexual thoughts come to an end at the cross, as the mind is uplifted to roam in sublime heavenly matters. Contemplating the scene of the Lord’s cross elevates our thoughts and kindles in our hearts the fire of Divine love, which pours into our hearts from the cross where we unite with the Christ and live with forgiveness meekness and full trust in God at times of tribulation. Hence, the cross becomes a continual experience; our thoughts would be roaming all the time on the love of God, which encircles all our speculations.
Fourth: The cross of psychic disturbance
The mind of man is the center of fear, worry anxiety and concern about the future … Such psychic disturbance deprives man of peace of mind, serenity and psychic stability. This, many a times, may lead one’s thoughts, sight and feelings to go astray, the scripture describes this status by the very words: “No peace of mind is granted to the evil ones, thus says the Lord, my God”. But the children of God enjoy true peace of mind granted to them by Jesus - not like that of the world. Thus, the heart that is filled with peace of God steps forward towards a united life with God. Have you entrusted your life to God’s care???
Amidst worldly conflicts, annoyances from troublemakers, being busy with life commitments and concerns about one’s future, how can one enjoy peace of mind and psychic stability?
The answer to this question is to remember that God who bought us (redeemed us) to himself paying dearly, His Son’s Blood, should be entrusted with our lives making sure that He remains faithful to the end. The Lord, thus says, “I owe your lives … I bought it with my blood … Fear not … How come you have no faith!!” “worry not about the future” :I shall wash away all your sins with my blood.”
Behold, on the cross, He said, “I entrust my soul unto my hands”. This was the last lesson given to us, announced by Him on the cross.
The cross is not man’s doing, rather it is planned and fulfilled by God. On the surface of it, the cross appeared to be an expression of man’s injustice and that the Lord was a prey among merciless rulers .. Yet in reality, the cross is a source of delight and love and surrender to God the Father for the salvation of the whole humanity.
+ The crucification of one’s self, the ego:
“Whoever wishes to follow me must deny self, carry his cross and follow in my steps.” The dynamic motion of the cross is within one’s self aiming at nailing the self (ego) to the cross. For the “self” is the center around which worldly pleasures, thoughts, worry, anxiety, dignity outer appearance, materialism … rotate. The cross is the only way out; contemplating crucified Jesus on the cross, snatches out all self-concern of naked Jesus on the cross deprives us of all concern about dressing in fine clothes. Beholding Jesus degraded on the cross extinguishes all yearn to be adored by others. The nails that nailed Him to the cross lifts our thoughts off worldly matters to roam up high over Heavenly principles.
+ The dynamic effect of the cross on my life:
- Throughout daily experience, the cross becomes the center of our relation with God. Whoever loses his cross loses his way to God, and his life freezes (lifeless) … the cross is my life, on it, I crucify myself and the world … From the cross, and wells of spiritual delight emerge. The sacred sight, sacred thought and Divine love become the hymn of my victory. Having entrusted my life to God, I am able to meet with Him daily in my office, my college, while studying, among my friends, … He becomes my whole life.