Thursday, May 07, 2020

Why you find the Cross in all the great Christian Mystics

"It is true in Christian spirituality and theology real proximity to God, real participation in God's life requires the Cross.  You look at the great saints, there  are two things they all have in common, despite their differences across culture, across time:  they love the Eucharist and they love the Cross.  Now, it sounds like some sort of masochism or some weird obsession with suffering:  it's not that.  Christian spirituality would say, the best way into the life of God is to commune with the Son of God, and the Son of God, at the culmination of his life, suffered on the Cross, so that's the basic principle.  Now, what's the why, the why behind it?  It has a lot to do with the death to the ego.  So, to love God, it means with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, that means you've got to get rid of self-love.  You've got to get rid of your preoccupation with your own projects, your own plans, your own life.  And, so, you see it in the Bible and in all the great Christian mystics, a steady stripping away of my self-preoccupation, my self love.  And that always involves suffering.  Not sometimes, not usually, always.  So it's not God being cruel, it's not our becoming masochistic, it's a simple acceptance of the fact that ridding one's self of self love is always painful.  Turning toward God, especially in a sinful world, a world twisted by sin, it's especially painful to turn away from the self toward God.  And that's why you find the Cross in all the great Christian mystics."
Bishop Barron, Pivotal Players 1: St. Catherine of Siena 

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