"The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our imprisonment, the prize for our freedom."
Abbot Rupert of Deutz, 12th century
Lent brings our attention to the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world, Christ the Savior. What is the place and role of the Cross in our modern society? Often we are caught in the middle of different opinions. Jesus' Cross has become uncomfortable for many, a sign of protest, a medieval symbol, or a sign of death. May we never forget that by his cross Jesus has redeemed our sins, atoned for our punishment, and given us hope for new life. Moreover, it is the sign of God's love and mercy and the proof of forgiveness.
For us, his disciples who willingly and freely dedicated our lives to Christ, the Cross must have a special meaning and place in our hearts. Jesus reminds us: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Through these words we understand that His call is not simply encouragement - it is an obligation under given conditions. Accepting the Cross means accepting Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. By contemplating the mystery of the Cross, we are invited to spur our conversion by freeing ourselves from egoism, pride, jealousy, and disobedience. This time of Lent should help us to examine how we live our vowed life, our life in the community, and to order it according to God’s will. As the followers of Jesus Christ we should deny ourselves and live for others by concrete deeds of love. Pope Benedict XVI in his message for Lent encourages us to return to traditional, but always actual customs: Through the traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, which are an expression of our commitment to conversion, Lent teaches us how to live the love of Christ in an ever more radical way.
Dear Sisters, during this Lent, create enough time to adore the cross, and look at Christ hanging in front of you with love and gratitude. Surely you will see there, as in a "mirror", the greatness of your human dignity, the mystery of your vocation and the value of your being. Here you will find in this "mirror of the Cross” the clarity and beauty of your calling.
I encourage you to throw yourself totally into the arms of the Merciful Father and faithfully walk with Jesus on His Way of Cross. There we are not alone, but accompanied by Mary, His Mother, who remained constant and unwavering to the very end. Let her be your guide and support. May this Lenten effort be not wasted, but bring you to the joyous encounter with the Risen Christ.
I accompany you dear Sisters on this way of cross,
Sr. Izabela Ṥwierad, SAC