Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Cross is Suddenly in Our Midst

William Congdon, Crucifix no120 (1974)

Holy Week has gained a sudden and specific weight in our community due to the tragic death of one of our young people. (May the Lord grant him eternal rest, and bring consolation to his family and friends.) 

I don’t have any words to address such sorrow. I have spent all of my pretenses to be able to say anything about this kind of grief on previous occasions—too many previous occasions. It is an incomprehensible suffering. Yet it is filling up the world especially in these times, weighing down the human shoulders of all those it leaves behind.

None of us can bear it. It is an anguish that cries and cries to God, and endures what seems like the silence of God. It opens an abyss in front of us that we don’t know how to bridge or circumvent. 

We must confront the truth that we are powerless. We cannot save the world. We cannot even save ourselves. We have no power to “undo” our own sins. We cannot raise the dead to life. Still, we long for life, forgiveness, and healing beyond the abyss of death. Why does this longing remain in us, with all of our weakness, in the depths of darkness? “My God, my God, why…?”

This week, and in all our days in this world, we place our hope entirely in a greater abyss of a mercy which we will never comprehend, but which has “space” for all our sorrows and suffering, for all that we think is irretrievably cut off, impoverished, botched, or “left unfinished” in our worn and ragged lives—the unfathomable abyss of the pierced Heart of our Crucified God.