When I am lifted up on high

Just as everything in the solar system revolves around the sun, everything in the order of grace revolves around the grace of the Cross of Christ, the Sun of Justice.

There is nothing in the world greater that Jesus Christ, and nothing in Jesus Christ is greater than His cross.

– In it, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens (Eph 1:3).

– In it, God chose us in him, before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).

– In it, God destined us for adoption to himself (Eph 1:5).

– In it, God freely granted us the riches of his grace, riches that he has lavished upon us (cf. Eph 1:6-8)

– In it we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions (Eph 1:7).

– In it, He summed up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth (Eph 1:10).

– In it, we have been chosen as heirs (cf. Eph 1:11).

– In it, we exist for the praise of his glory (cf. Eph 1:12).

Just as from the cross Christ draws all men towards Himself, so too does Christ from the cross draw all those with vocations. The source of all vocations to the consecrated life in the Church is the Cross of Christ.

In the story of every vocation, each priest can say that one day he felt drawn to the Cross of Christ.

What is the reason for this attraction? The reason is that everything that the world holds in disdain, Christ calls pleasant (poverty, persecution, obedience, purity), and everything that the world holds as pleasant, Christ considers worthy of contempt. Every priest can say that one day, in the midst of this confusion, he perceived that only in the cross of Christ would he be taught the marvelous and unique lesson of suffering sorrow.

One day, each priest realized that the cross was a folly in the eyes of the world, but, raising his eyes to Christ on the cross, he understood that the folly of God was wiser than the wisdom of men.

Then he thought: if the Word made flesh taught me the way of the cross, saying if anyone wishes to come after me (Lk 9:23), then I should follow Him. Even more, as he raised his eyes he saw Christ with His arms extended, as if embracing him, and with His feet nailed, as if waiting for him, and realized that Christ did not simply teach, but also gave an example, and from then on, the priest did not want to know anything except Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2).

So it was that the Cross of Christ stole his heart, conquered him, gave him enthusiasm, and threw the priest into the greatest adventure which can be given to man while he lives upon earth: the total surrender of self to God. Thus, there is nothing more beautiful on the face of the earth than a priestly heart, a heart that surrenders itself to God with an undivided and unrestricted love.

Then, because the priest fell in love with the Cross, he pledged himself to her and, even more, he married her.[1] Every authentic priest marries the cross.

It is the Cross who gives the priest indefatigable audacity and courage for every trial. It is the Cross who makes it possible, in spite of being full of scars himself, for a smile to always spring from his lips, and for a crystalline laugh to be the rubric of his works. It is the Cross who gives the priest thirst for great things. It is the Cross who awakens him for the mission, in such a way that the world, east and west, north and south, becomes small compared to the desires of his heart.

The Cross propels him to great deeds, and even epic ones.

The Cross propels him to be a missionary over the many roads of the world, far from his people, far from his country, and far from his family. It is a gift from God, but it is also a work that every priest must undertake. Not at random does a priestly heart spring from within a family or from a town.

Let us always pray for priests, so that they might continually say: But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Gal 6:14).

[1] The original reads, “Y porque se enamoró de la Cruz, se amadrinó con Ella, más aún, se desposó con Ella.” As cross (cruz) is a feminine noun in Spanish, this sense has been preserved in the translation. – Translator’s Note.  



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