Skip to content

The Transforming Power of the Cross

By Fr James Farfaglia
3/22/2010 (7 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

Highlights

By Fr James Farfaglia
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/22/2010 (7 years ago)

Published in Lent / Easter


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.

-----

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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JULY 2017
Lapsed Christians.
That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.


Comments



More Lent & Easter


'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'

Luke 24:46

Lent Event

Importance

Ash Wednesday

March 1, 2017

Image of Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting... continue reading

Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017

Image of Palm Sunday Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four canonical Gospels... continue reading

Holy Week

April 9 - 15, 2017

Image of Holy Week On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by... continue reading

Holy Thursday

April 13, 2017

Image of Holy Thursday Holy Thursday is the most complex and profound of all religious observances. It celebrates his last supper with the disciples, a celebration of Passover... continue reading

Good Friday

April 14, 2017

Image of Good Friday On Good Friday, each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Holy Week... continue reading

Easter Sunday

April 16, 2017

Image of Easter Sunday Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I calls it the greatest feast, and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter... continue reading

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday

Image of Stations of the Cross Stations of the Cross refers to the depiction of the final hours (or Passion) of Jesus, and the devotion commemorating the Passion... continue reading

Fasting and Abstinence

Every Friday

Image of Fasting and Abstinence For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the... continue reading

Image of What did you give up for Lent? From the humorous to the bizarre, people have had interesting Lenten experiences. Tell us about what you are going to give up for this Lenten Year... continue reading

Ascension of Our Lord

Thursday May 25, 2017

Image of Ascension of Our Lord The Ascension of Our Lord, a Holy Day of Obligation, celebrates the day that Christ, in the presence of His apostles, ascended bodily into Heaven. The Ascension occurred on the 40th day of Easter, a Thursday... continue reading

Pentecost

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Image of Pentecost Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16) and Corinthians (16:8)... continue reading

Image of Lent FAQ's Everything answered from when does lent end, ashes, giving something up, stations of the cross and blessed palms. The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple... continue reading

Mardi Gras

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Image of Mardi Gras In France, the people feasted on foods that would be given up during the forty days of Lent. Meats, eggs, and milk were finished off in one day, giving the holiday its French title of 'Mardi Gras' which means Fat Tuesday... continue reading

Image of Transformed by Easter The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community... continue reading

Image of Appearances He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. - Matthew 28:6. Learn more about the Post-Resurrection Appearances of Jesus Christ... continue reading

Image of Easter Gifts CatholicShopping.com offers a variety of Easter gifts & Easter treats for all ages! Choose a gift for someone special and celebrate the joy of Easter... continue reading

Easter / Lent News

Inspire: Easter Beyond the Octave. Why Do We Celebrate for Fifty Days?

Image of Christ my hope is risen, and he goes before you into Galilee.

While Easter is a Solemnity and an octave feast, it is also a 50 day season until Pentecost.The Season of Easter is not just about His ... continue reading


Reflecting on the Resurrection: Why did Jesus Rise with Wounds?

Image of The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths point to us that Jesus is physically alive.  His crucified body has been transformed.  What lesson is he teaching us by keeping his wounds intact?

What lesson is the Lord teaching us by keeping his wounds intact? Perhaps we can better answer this question by turning to our own wounds. ... continue reading


I Am Dismas and This Is My Story

Image of

As a teenager I ran into someone who introduced me to the finer points of the occupation. We fell into the tried and proven method of ... continue reading


HOLY SATURDAY: The Whole Earth Keeps Silence Watch

Image of The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence ... continue reading


On the Friday We Call Good, the Whole World Stands Still Watch

Image of

Today as we contemplate the Passion we also plumb the mystery and meaning of the Church. We are members of His Body. She was born ... continue reading


The Lent and Easter Season... by CatholicOnline.shopping

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.