Jesus: Everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.
I’ve wondered how I might execute Jesus’ suggestion above. How ostentatious does my acknowledgement have to be? How public does it have to be? In front of how many people?
Paul of the Cross: Live in such a way that all may know that you bear outwardly as well as inwardly the image of Christ crucified.
I read the suggestion of St. Paul of the Cross and I wonder about bearing inwardly and outwardly the image of Christ crucified. How public, how often, how intense must be the bearing of this image?
Do I need a fog horn or a microphone to tell others of my following of Jesus crucified?
I have come to realize that these words of Jesus aren’t about exhibitionism or some kind of planned stagings. Rather, the everyday goodness that comes about as we live in a way that is faithful to “our calling” will have its own way of acknowledging Jesus before others. Being aware of, even embracing, our helplessness toward much of life’s challenges in ways that turn us to a loving and deepening dependence on God – these patterns acknowledge Christ in our lives. They bear the image of the powerlessness of Christ Crucified of whom Paul of the Cross speaks.
And then there is hope. Paul of the Cross invites us to bear the image of Christ crucified. “Crucifixions” come into every life. What quality especially marks them as images of Christ crucified? I believe it is hope. Bearing the image of the crucified Christ calls for more than the “grin and bear it” style of handling adversity. It calls for a conscious embrace of the paschal mystery, an embrace of hope.
In the conclusion of “God and the Mystery of Human Suffering,” Robin Ryan CP describes this paschal experience as a vibrant trust in “the God who is tenaciously faithful to us, bringing life out of death.”
May God enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which you are called. (Ephesians 1:15)
- Sister Mary Clark, a Seton Hill Sister of Charity lives at Elizabeth Seton Convent in Pittsburgh, PA.