Because of His Cross

Guest post by Warren Jewell
I don’t know about you, but if a bunch of thugs nailed me to a wooden display after having beat me up, my Italian side would not be very nice in talking to them. In fact, I can’t think of any side of me that would be nice. I would avoid saying anything terrible about their moms, but all else would get free rein. However, the High Priest Himself not merely said nice things to his death squad, He pleaded for them with His Father to forgive them for their ignorance. Even Frank’s best ‘Sheesh!’ can’t cover that act of love.

What a great Guy we have in Jesus! You can hope for the same magnanimous, magnificent mercy without even asking, right? Right? Wrong! They were ignorant—we are not. His love for us is as infinite as ever, but, “they know not what they do” has no place for us. We know that we torture and destroy God made man, our own Savior, Priest of priests, Innocent of innocents, King of kings, God from God—need I go on?—as surely as we know anything.

There’s no easy way out anywhere for me. Mother Mary would cast an eye on us, me among the embarrassed group, and tell Saint John, “Keep an eye on this bunch. They need a lot of work.”

I have been blessed with open ears, and have listened; blessed with open eyes, I have seen. So, I know better about what it is I do, Who it is I am doing it to. “But – I had to do it – really!” It sounds rather empty, standing under that Cross; Mary Magdalene looking at me with a “How could you?!” look. The good thief, traditionally named Saint Dismas, would shockingly realize what he was witnessing: “You mean, Lord, that he is from among Your followers?!” Indeed, surrounded by His most beloved, and with Jesus the Christ hanging, dying, right over our heads, just where could I look?

Of wonderful mercy, I cannot have been party to the actual Crucifixion. However, every time I sin, I do stand beneath that Cross without an excuse or reason or cause. I am not ignorant. I am shamefully aware that I am guilty of sin. And His Blood flows not only as His perfect sacrifice because of my sin, but as His purifying waters to wash away my sin.

If somehow I could take away my sin, and you your sin, we would not have put Him on the Cross. We all know better: that we sin and even the best of us is putting the Lord Jesus Christ up on His Cross just too regularly. Once again, we must stand beneath Him, explain to His Mother why “my sin was more important to do” than not crucifying her Son. Looking at His tortured frame yet again is not ever going to make any of us do less than cringe all the way to the confessional.

His gift to His executioners was mercy in the face of ignorance. His gift to us and through His Church and His Word are that we need not, and more importantly cannot, be ignorant.

Faith and reason, as two essential gifts to all of us who submit our wills to believe, ride to our rescue, if we just permit God to care for and cherish us through them. We lost ignorance long ago, my friends. We gained the beloved Presence of the Lord to make the best of us, and have no doubts about that.

Now, just take a moment and bow before a crucifix and know that He is God and loves you all that much.

"Vaya con Dios, Leonard; Rest in Peace."

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  • Jan

    Gem of a post, Warren! 😉

  • Allison Salerno

    thank you, Warren. It doesn't get any more radical than this. And by radical, I mean "at the root." Contemplating Jesus' sacrifice for us is so humbling.

  • Hello Warren! I have followed your comments at YIMC for many months now. I have been waiting for your debut as a guest post writer — and voilá!! Your post is marvelous. I never really contemplated the idea that when I sin I am in actuality re-crucifying our Lord. That is such a powerful image for me. And I thank you for setting that notion inot my mind and heart. I hope to hear more from you soon. Pax Christi.

  • Christine

    I enjoyed reading your post. We,as Christians, can never be reminded enough of Christ's sacrifice for our salvation.

  • Beautiful post Warren. Lent couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me to be aware of sin in my life. I have appreciated your non-cushioned insights and even rebukings, to say the least of the example of this post ("However, every time I sin, I do stand beneath that Cross without an excuse or reason or cause. I am not ignorant. I am shamefully aware that I am guilty of sin.")It reminded me a poem I wrote when I was 17. I hope you don't mind my sharing it on here:"On The Cross Again"I am crucified with Christ And I no longer live,But Christ lives within me,And my redemption He gives.But everyday I shove Him out,I force my own things in.Everyday I carve the nailsThat put Him on the cross again.Each day I ignore what He has to say.Each day I make Him frown.Each day I sharpen the infamous thorns,That made up His royal crown.Each day I fail in my calling,At least nine times out of ten.And everyday, like the one before,I put Him on the cross again.But Christ is risen, He is gone,His body has been renewed.And this here is the very pinnacle,But our worship of it has been eschewed.The life I live in this body,I live by faith in the Son of Man,And yet everyday, consistently,I put Him on the cross again.

  • Warren Jewell

    Though I appreciate you appreciation, I am humbly reminded that this image hangs with me until I go to confession, when I believe my sin(s) mortal. I feel so small in this tableau. But, I am right next to Mary, and even in my shame and guilt, her understanding as my Mother, THE Mother, comes through. Her aura is marked solely with 'He waits for you with mercy – don't wait – don't let Him wait. Go – DON'T WAIT, child.' All His love stands right next to me in His beloved Mother. And, even as I am shamed, He is calling "Come to Me". This image can power such prayers and tears of contrition."If today, you hear His voice, harden not your heart" – I owe the Spirit big time for granting me such a powerful image, all heaven for witnessing to His love.

  • Warren Jewell

    @Michelle,Your own personal and similar experience (and, as a tenderly hormone-confused seventeen year old, God be praised) is precisely what such as this post, whoever would write it, is meant to inspirit in any and all of us. Now, Michelle, do you have more to say about your own experience of sorrow and contrition, given your sweet prayer of a poem? Our conversations about confession/Penance/reconciliation seem to have flowed into a Lenten 'celebration' of being repentant sinners. For, let us celebrate being sinners (!!??) because the whole story from revelation, and His Gospel walk among us, and His death for us, most especially His glorious revelation of Resurrection and even His Church left for us would not have come about had Adam and Eve left that fruit alone. There is a better way to put it, from a priest theologian, this appreciation of all our sins have led God to provide for us, blessed and praised be His Name. Can't put this old finger on it . . .Would we in Eden have been given so much to tell us of His love for us? Or, would we just be waiting around for another of us to think to 'be as gods'?(Thanks be to God for thesauri and their compilers – 'evoke' sounded drained, and 'inspirit' sounds so right, eh?)

  • @ Warren"do you have more to say about your own experience of sorrow and contrition, given your sweet prayer of a poem? Our conversations about confession/Penance/reconciliation seem to have flowed into a Lenten 'celebration' of being repentant sinners."I think I am still learning what all this means. Not being Catholic I come from a "tradition" of just feeling bad about my sins, but not *really* having to do anything about them. I personally kind of feel lost this season, not really knowing what to do. Though I know what I need to do, as you put it, bow down before a crucifix and just spend some time with God…which I am so ashamed to say is something I haven't have the courage or humility to do in a while… Is that what you were asking? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Well said!

  • Warren:Bravo Zulu!