Retreat Day 10 AM: The Cross that Heals

Photo: Gregory A. Shemitz

“When the dire venom of beasts came upon them,
and they were dying from the bite of the crooked serpents,
your anger endured not to the end.
But as a warning, for a short time they were terrorized,
though they had a sign of salvation, to remind them of the precept of your law.
For he who turned toward it was saved,
not by what he saw,
but by you, the savior of all.
And by this also you convinced our foes
that you are he who delivers from all evil.”

– Widsom 16:5-8

These are difficult days, but do not be afraid.

“God heard the groaning of a world made helpless by sin and death. Just as the Israelite in the desert were healed by the sign of the serpents who were poisoning them, so also the human race is healed by the sign of the death which was destroying us until the Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross to free those condemned to die.” (Source)

God hears your groaning; do not be afraid.

“Are you assailed by the temptation of the serpent? Then gaze at the mystical serpent lifted up on Calvery; see there our Lord victorious and triumphant in his bodily death and the cross will provide a healing remedy.”
— St. Augustine

“There is a balm in Gilead; ” Do not be afraid.

“Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”

— John 12:31-32

There is nothing to be afraid of.

Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”

–Psalm 102: 19-21

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://theanchoressonline lynn gimlin

    Thank you for reminding me once more of all that is TRUE! I always come here when the world is too much with me.

  • Louise M

    Thank You, Anchoress.

    I needed your anger, I needed your repentance, I needed your Good Words of Assurance today.

    A faithful journey matters.

    Your faithfulness to your journey has encouraged, strengthened and supported me in mine.

  • F

    Me too LG.

    Anchoress, thanks for posting this. I never understood the principle of the antidote and have been reading and mulling on it. I guess the idea of Christ as a serpent, after having been raised on creation stories of the evil serpent caused too much cognitive dissonance in me. I could not get my mind around this. But, I heard Fr. Mitch Pacwa give a brilliant homily on this last night from yesterday’s mass at EWTN. He said if the serpent was stretched out, as it was on the rod Moses made, it meant it was in full retreat from us. If it had been coiled it would have meant it was ready to strike us. I always felt the imagery in the OT was so pagan, but now I understand it: God used what was familiar to those Israelites. If they were bitten several times a day, as we are with political trials, stresses, etc., all they had to do in the camp was turn and look at the seraph serpent on the staff. Well, now I get it. All I have to do is continually turn toward Christ, lifted up in my camp and He will be my antidote to my sins, my temptations, my wounds.

    Thank you for posting the quotes above. They are so helpful in calming my spirit when I race to extremes in my mind over all that is going on in DC and globally.

  • Pingback: The Anchoress | A First Things Blog