By Sister Brenda Whelan
The cross under which we gather for these next days and weeks is the cross where we learn to love, where we learn to let ourselves be loved.
This cross is a cross of condemnation . . . the cross where we may condemn or be condemned for color or race, addiction, or sexual identity. Beneath this cross we can learn to love the one who is other and accept ourselves as other.
This cross is one of acceptance . . . acceptance of crosses: the cross of COVID, of fear and worry, doubt and uncertainty, the cross of isolation. Beneath this cross we can learn to love those who are carrying crosses and learn that it is okay to have our own.
This cross is one of falling and getting up and falling again. Beneath this cross we learn to help the other up, to be their strength, their reason to believe in love. It is the cross where we can accept an outstretched hand and let ourselves be loved.
This cross is one where we can recognize in the eyes of another the pain they have endured. Beneath this cross we can learn to love another enough to stand with them and love ourselves enough to let another stand with us.
This cross is one where we can cry openly for those who lack resources, the bare necessities of life . . . those who lack shelter or food, those who are bullied or excluded. Beneath this cross we can learn to love and care for all peoples, and we can let ourselves accept the help that we might need.
Beneath this cross we can learn to love . . . only if we can learn to let ourselves be loved as well.
The eternalness of God’s love promises each of us that someone will be standing with us in our darkest hours, in our Lent . . .
In our resurrection, that will come . . . if we are willing to stand beneath the cross and learn to love and be loved.