the little cross

This post was originally published on the Capuchin Franciscan Vocation Blog:

Today, we had a silent day of recollection at the novitiate. At one point, we were told to go out and meditate on the crucified Christ (a very Franciscan subject). So, I went out and sat on the road with my rosary's cross to pray and reflect. I faced the East, towards the vale.

As I looked out across the fields, I couldn't help but be struck with awe at the beauty of this place. But one particular trait of this vista captivated me: its sheer immensity. The deep, downward curves of the earth laid a golden blanket below me. Beyond the low plain, the tall mounds rebounded with majestic grandeur. All of this was accentuated by the sky's swatches of shadow and sunlight on, around, & between the competing hilltops.

Then, there was my little cross right before me. This thumb-sized wooden sacramental in the foreground of a sweeping landscape.

I am led to think of Jesus on that cross: a distant impained figure on the top of a hill, a speck on the human scene, a mere nothing when observing our Earth from above. Yet, hidden within the mystery is God. In the littlest death of a man in Palestine, there is found the most meaningful sacrifice ever made.

Suddenly, everything is brought into context. When viewed in light of the vastness of creation, there is little to distinguish the sacrifices of our lives in the smallest things from the sacrifice of our life to the very point of death. We are merely grains of wheat.

The holiness of the world is often hidden. I think of all of those people who live grace-filled lives with quiet and unceasing devotion. I particularly remember Mother Theresa's Missionaries of Charity hastily tending the wounds of Christ in the forgotten people of cities all across the globe.

Saint Lawrence–whose feast we celebrate today–lived a life of many sacrifices. For him, it was apparent that the ordinary was united with the extraordinary when he famously declared to his executioners, "Turn me over, I'm done on this side!" as he lay tied to the burning grill.

So it is my prayer that we all may find strength in our daily lives by constantly offering up the ordinary & the extraordinary, the little & the large, to our most humble and loving God.

 

Brother Joe Babcock, ofm cap

A native of Port Washington, WI, I am a friar-in-formation for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph (Midwest USA). Click here to read more...