The Cross: A disgrace becomes a sign of glory
The saying of a desert father is famous: “The time will come when men will go crazy. And in seeing someone who is not mad they will pounce on him saying, ‘You’re crazy!’, because of his dissimilarity from them.” Paul has been through this experience: “The Jews ask for miracles and the Greeks for a higher knowledge, while we proclaim a crucified Messiah. For the Jews, what a real scandal. And for the Greeks, what nonsense!” (1 Cor 1:22-23). Where is true wisdom? The logic of the cross is not that of the world. Man is born and grows to assimilate that of the world. When the “folly of the cross” was announced to him as normal and the outcome even healthy, he is seized with doubts and misgivings and he sits down to reflect on the choice to make.
We search for life, not death. We want to avoid what makes us suffer and the cross, unfortunately, does not evoke the idea of salvation. Certain forms of mortification, penance, and ascetic practices have not made a good service to the understanding of the call made by Jesus to take the cross.
The Christian does not aspire to pain (even Jesus did not seek it), but love. However, when love is “lived up to the end” (Jn 13:1) it comes to the gift of life.
That’s why the cross, from a sign of death, becomes a symbol of life.
Until the end of the 3rd century, the Christian symbols were the anchor, the fisherman, the fish but never the cross. It will only be from the 4th century, with the famous discovery of the instrument of execution of Jesus by St. Helena, that the cross will become the symbol of victory, not on the enemies of Constantine at the Milvio Bridge but on death and all those that cause death. To choose the cross is to choose life. But it is not easy to understand.
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Give us, O God, the wisdom of heart”.