Embracing God’s Cross

Embracing God’s Cross

We have no stingy God. Instead, our God always offers us grace after grace and then grace within grace. I wrote in an earlier post about being graced with a sense of being embraced and consoled in the merciful arms of our crucified God, a God who is always reaching out in self-forgetting love to embrace our life.

Yesterday’s gift in prayer came as a desire to reach out myself and embrace the cross with Jesus in that nanosecond of faith, hope, and love between suffering and glory, death and life. The cross we embrace with Jesus is rugged and splintery, without a hint of romance or naivete.

It just means that we intentionally put ourselves in the place of life’s greatest potential for growth and conversion, deciding in faith to live in places that are dangerous, uncomfortable, and plenty fearful with the hesitant assurance we won’t be left to die, and experience that’s easier to write about than live.

Later that day I had lunch with a friend, Justin, and we talked about concrete opportunities we both faced for trusting more deeply, taking chances more regularly, and leaning to love more fully and faithfully. We agreed about the challenge with both faced: we could either think about the cross as a path to life or actually embrace the cross and live like Jesus.

That’s when I shared my grace from that morning’s prayer about reaching for the cross rather than turning away from the possibility of learning how to be more fully alive. Then it became a grace for both of us.

Photo: arturko/PhotoXpress


About the Author

Joe McHugh is a spiritual director, retreat leader, teacher, and writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the National Catholic Reporter. His book, "Startled by God: Wisdom from Unexpected Places" is available at catalog.franciscanmedia.org. He can be contacted at jjmch1300@gmail.com.
  • David Kay

    When the old dogwood tree got struck by lightning it died. All it did was grow where it fell. The tree cut for the cross of Jesus’s crucifixion didn’t kill him. None the less, it was literally washed in his blood. As current day Americans it is not politically correct to carry the bloody thing with us wherever we go. But we can try.