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The Transforming Power of the Cross

Carry your cross with generosity. Carry your cross with patience, love, and joy. See in your cross your sanctification, your eternal salvation.

The transfiguration of the Lord reminds us of the outcome of the cross. Suffering brings about transformation when we carry the cross like true disciples of Jesus.

The transfiguration of the Lord reminds us of the outcome of the cross. Suffering brings about transformation when we carry the cross like true disciples of Jesus.


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - A man and a woman had a little daughter that they adored. Audrey was their only child. They lived their whole lives for their little child. When she became chronically ill and her illness resisted the efforts of the best doctors, the parents became totally discouraged and inconsolable.

Soon Audrey did not survive the illness and the parents were completely distressed. They became bitter recluses, shutting themselves off from their family and friends. But, one night the woman had a dream. She dreamt that she was in heaven.

During her dream, she saw a long procession of little children processing like little angels before the throne of God. Every child was dressed in a dazzling white robe and they each held a lit candle. However, when the woman saw her Audrey, she noticed that her candle was not lit.

The mother ran up to Audrey, embraced her in her arms, caressed her tenderly, and then asked her how it was that her candle was the only one that was not lit. Audrey said, "Mother, they often relight it, but your tears always put it out".

Just at that moment the woman woke from her dream. The lesson was clear, and its effects were immediate. She immediately told the dream to her husband. They decided to embrace their loss with Christian hope, and that they would no longer extinguish Audrey´s little candle with their useless tears.

This past Sunday's liturgy provides motivation and inspiration for us to continue our Lenten program. It is not easy to die to self. However, the gospel account of the transfiguration of Jesus tells us that our cross will always lead to the transformation of our lives.

There are three transfigurations or transformations that take place in our journey towards eternity.

The first change begins at Baptism. The immersion into the baptismal waters symbolizes death and rebirth. The sacrament of Baptism washes away original sin and we are re-created. We are transformed into new creatures. The old self dies, and the new person in Christ Jesus is born.

Our new life, which begins at Baptism, is carried out through our daily living of the Gospel. This of course, demands a continual dying to self. Through self-denial, the image of Christ is made visible in our lives. The more we die to self, the more sanctifying grace can transform our lives. "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it". (Matthew 10: 39)

The second transformation takes place by our victory over the trials and tribulations of life. Every challenge, every difficulty, every moment of suffering, is an opportunity to grow. Transformation only takes place through suffering.

A young friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer when he was nineteen years old. He died two years latter. Nevertheless, his acceptance of this challenge and the manner in which he embraced his daily suffering not only transformed his life, but it transformed the lives of those who were closest to him.

One day after he returned from a long week of treatments at the hospital, his dad suggested that before returning home, they stop by their parish and pray the Stations of the Cross together. The father told his son that contemplating how much Jesus had suffered for them would be important, particularly in their present trial. Both father and son had understood the transforming power of the Cross of Jesus.

The third transformation takes place at death. The suffering that the final moment brings upon us makes way for an amazing transformation. Eternal life in heaven, perhaps after a period of further transformation in purgatory, is granted to those who have been found worthy. The last transformation or transfiguration is completed at the Second Coming when our body is reunited with our soul. What awaits us is beyond anything that we can imagine.

"Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, 'new heavens and a new earth'. It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth. The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just, sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ". (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1043, 1047)

When we consider the eschatological teachings of the Catholic Church, we can understand why the Easter liturgy cries out "O felix culpa". "O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer" (Exsúlet – The Easter Proclamation from the Easter Vigil Liturgy).

The transfiguration of the Lord reminds us of the outcome of the cross. Suffering brings about transformation when we carry the cross like true disciples of Jesus.

Each of us has a cross to carry. We must all identify our crosses and carry them with patience, joy and love. Why complain about something which is our means to gain eternal life?

As Thomas a' Kempis reminds us, "The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere. No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself. Turn where you will --above, below, without, or within -- you will find a cross in everything, and everywhere you must have patience if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry and lead you to the desired goal where indeed there shall be no more suffering, but here there shall be. If you carry it unwillingly, you create a burden for yourself and increase the load, though still you have to bear it. If you cast away one cross, you will find another and perhaps a heavier one" (The Imitation of Christ, Book II, chapter 12).

"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them" (Mark 9: 2-3).

The transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor tells us that the glory of the resurrection will only take place through the sufferings of Good Friday. The transfiguration of Jesus teaches us that the experience of the cross is necessary in order for Easter to take place. However, too many of our contemporaries are like those who stood at the foot of the Cross and cried out to Jesus that he should come down from the Cross. Many would like to have a Christianity without self-denial, discipline, and renunciation. However, Christianity without the Cross is not Christianity at all.

What is your cross? Maybe you have many crosses to carry. How do you carry your cross? Do you complain? Are you discouraged? Do you run away from the cross?

There is only one way to carry your cross. Carry your cross with generosity. Carry your cross with patience, love, and joy. See in your cross your sanctification, your eternal salvation. Understand that with your cross, united to the cross of Jesus, you have a continual opportunity to save souls and make reparation for so many sins.

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Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father James is known for his orthodoxy, his unconditional obedience to the Pope, his delicate fidelity to all liturgical norms, his love for real sacred music, his well prepared homilies, and his unwavering pro-life stand. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

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Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.

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1 - 7 of 7 Comments

  1. Eneh Ejike Valentine
    4 years ago

    I am looking for some writeups to help me conclude an article am writting. The topic is RESURRECTING WITH CHRIST, Please I need your help.

  2. prince chuks anikpe
    4 years ago

    thank you so much for your wonderful illustration of the cross, Of which i can now understand that, we are in the world of many challenges and obstacles which is the cross, and without the cross there will be no link way to salvation. And through your discusion of the cross, you have now chanelled me to understand that whatever my cross may be, that i should carry it with joy, love, and patience and not to indulge into grudging and complaining. And i ask for the grace of God to be upoon me so that i may be able to follow his footh steps and recieve the salvation brought to us. Thanks and God bless Amen.

  3. Maggie
    4 years ago

    No sin is greater than God. He loves always and forever will be with us now and at the hour of our death. Do not be afraid to die for according to the sorrowful mystery we ask our Lord to be with us at the hour of our trial and death. Call on Him and He will answer you Clara Cortinas for you are not alone. I am from Houston,Texas and I will pray for you and your family. God loves you and He has forgiven you. Meditate on the mysteries by praying the Rosary everyday. After each decade say Oh! Holy Mother of God pray for me a sinner now and at the hour of my death I am healed, Amen.

  4. esotu i. ben
    5 years ago

    When i was praying The Stations of the Croos at my parish, i felt so ashamed and vowed to remain faithful to the teaching of the Church. From SS Peter & Paul Isolo, Lagos

  5. Peggy
    5 years ago

    Clara, I will pray for you. You should pray for me. It's been a long, long time since my last confession and now I find myself all but homebound. It's time for me to call my pastor and request that we find a mutual meeting time and place to do this. I need, too, to receive the Eucharist as often as possible. A Rosary every day. Read Scripture with helps. You have a computer - log into Catholic.com; Catholic.online.com; EWTN.com; Catholic Answers. These are loads of help in this area. Remember that no matter what you did, the Lord, Jesus, never stops loving you. A simple turning to Him, an "I'm sorry", and you are back on the right track. God Bless You.

  6. Clara Cortinas
    5 years ago

    I'll be undergoing a biopsy for liver cancer, but I know in my heart that I do have it because of my previous medical history. I've lived a life of excess, and am sorry to have wasted so much of my husband's money he works so hard. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed with faith, and other times I run away from it like on many Sundays I know I should go to Mass, but many times I don't attend. I want to go to heaven and be with Our Lord. And I want to be strong for what's ahead. How can I get strong and will God forgive my ugly past. So many times I've disapointed him even after promising to change. So many broken promises. What can I do to prepare for death? I only cry why I think of leaving my adult children and grandchildren.

  7. patrick Nyasulu
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the beautiful story. Thank for reminding me about my cross. Pray for me that I may carry it with Joy, love and patience.

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