As He hung there on the tree
He prayed for you and He prayed for me.
There was no one his pain to ease,
Before he died, he faintly cried,
Father forgive them please.
After arriving home exhausted on Holy Thursday, I fell asleep for about an hour and then received a text from a client who was having some issues with their email. I had wanted to go back to sleep until the next morning and deal with it then, but I couldn’t sleep and got up to call the 24-hour support provided by the web and email hosting company. After two hours, we felt we resolved what we could and I got off the phone with them shortly before 2 am and tried to get back to sleep. I was wide awake so I watched TV for a short while to help my mind come down from the whirlwind it had been on for the previous 2 hours. In hindsight, I should have prayed.
I awoke on Good Friday at 8 am and realized that what we *thought* had been resolved hadn’t and got back on the phone with the support people for another two hours. By the end of the two hours, again we felt we had resolved the issue. Later that morning, I discovered that the issue *still* hadn’t been resolved. This was causing a great deal of anxiety for my client, and for me. We were doing what we could with the hosting company, but we were dependent on them for much of the troubleshooting and to find a solution.
We went to the 3 pm Stations of the Cross that afternoon and as I sat down, I prayed for a few moments to be still. I prayed that I could shut off the outside world and be immersed in the story of the Passion of the Christ as we walked through the 14 Stations of the Cross. I felt at peace and free from the anxiety that had plagued me earlier in the day. While I was tired, I felt alert and relaxed at the same time.
As the Stations finished and we left the Church, I went back into anxiety mode trying to determine what would need to happen next in terms of helping my client. Throughout the day, I had realized that this experience was one of ‘small suffering’. It was one in which I needed to stay centered and focused. I needed to maintain my composure and not let my anxiety get the better of me. At the same time, I would need to try and find the balance between contemplating Christ’s time on the cross and my practical daily experiences that were presenting themselves.
Later that afternoon, my prayers were answered as I received a text from my client to inform me that the hosting company had finally resolved the problem we were having. He was frustrated with the whole experience, but knew that I had done all I could and had felt comfortable with the idea that there were some configuration issues well beyond our knowledge and that the hosting company was entirely responsible for ensuring that they needed to be correct. I was able to finish cooking dinner and get ready to head back to the Church for the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord.
The Liturgy of the Word was beautiful, but I was particularly moved by the second part, the Adoration of the Holy Cross. The first time I’d experienced this, I thought it unusual and – truthfully – a little weird. The idea of holding up in honor, a crucifix, seemed unnecessary to me. I went ahead with it in past years, but – in keeping with the Holy Thursday appreciation of ‘experiencing’ the Triduum instead of just merely ‘participating’ – this year was different. Earlier in the service, the Priest had given a beautiful homily and one phrase jumped out at me:
Without the Cross, there can be no resurrection
I had heard this phrase countless times before and I knew what it meant. I understood completely that to fully enjoy the good in life, we have to also experience the bad. Often times, the good can only come from clawing our way through the bad. The Shawshank Redemption, adapted from a book written by Stephen King, provides a beautiful – yet also gross – analogy of this when Andy, (warning – spoiler alert!) the character played by Tim Robbins, claws his way through a 1/2 mile long tunnel of raw sewage to find his freedom at the other end as he escapes from prison.
Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to. Five hundred yards… that’s the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile.
None of us has found true happiness in our lives without some form of suffering. The two go hand in hand. In the case of Christ, He suffered the horrific scourging and then a painful death on the cross in order that He would be resurrected. Without the Cross, there can be no resurrection.
Christ lived the prophecy and prayed for each and every one of us. He took on the sins of the world so that we may be free.
It is, therefore, important that we recognize the significance of the Cross in Christ’s willingness to die. Christ hung on the Cross so that our sins may be forgiven.
Behold the wood of the Cross,
on which hung the salvation of the world.
Without the Cross, there can be no resurrection.