How is it that something as brutal as the Cross has become the centerpiece of our faith? How is it that we glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ? Some say that Jesus suffered and died because we are so bad. Rather, I think Jesus suffered and died because we suffer and die. Who among us hasn’t known suffering, loss, grief, powerlessness of all sorts? Jesus’ Cross is unique to him but not exclusive to him. This is the heart of our faith - that he shares with us the totality of his uniqueness as the eternal Son of the Father. Whether that uniqueness is being expressed on the Mount of Transfiguration or on the Mount of Calvary.
The Cross is definitely not exclusive to Jesus. It is also my story. It is your story. It is the story of Spencer, the United States, Russia, Syria. It is the story of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. It is the story of those close to us and those we don’t even know. It’s the story of those we love and those we shun. How is this so? I don’t know. Why is this so? I don’t know. I don’t have any good, satisfying or easy answers. I don’t think any of us really do. But, what I’m convinced of is that what we do have is a God who suffers with us. Ultimately, that’s why we cling to and glory in the Cross of Jesus Christ. It’s all we’ve got. And it’s all we need.
Excerpts from Abbot Damian's reflection for Good Friday. Safet Zec, Deposition, detail, 2014.