Today we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This day is especially significant for Carmelites as it marks the beginning of the Fast of the Order and it is the day when we reaffirm our commitment to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ through the renewal of our vows. The monastic fast is a call to ever greater prayer and solitude for the sake of the transformation of the world.
This year as I gaze upon the cross, I am overcome with deep sadness and immense disappointment. The sexual abuse that has occurred and has been covered up by those in the hierarchy of our Church is atrocious. It is nothing less than evil itself.
Legend has it that the cross upon which Jesus died was recovered from the Persians around the year 629. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back to Jerusalem himself, but he was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.
Those who will be called upon to lead our Church through this time of tremendous darkness need to be willing to carry the cross as barefoot pilgrims.
As I allow the blood of Christ to wash over me, I am aware of the great love of Christ and of my desire to be Christ’s compassionate and loving presence in the world.
I choose to renew my religious profession and unite my life totally to the passion of Christ as an oblation to the merciful love of God and as a witness that the light of Christ will continue to break through this darkness.
The Carmelite life of prayer is needed now more than ever. As Carmelites around the world enter into this time of fasting, know that we join our prayers to yours, confident that the Holy Spirit will continue to renew our Church.
“O Cross of Jesus Christ, sign of our life, save us, heal us, set us free.”