We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by Your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
God is God, and can do whatever He wills. He said “Let there be light,” and there was light, days before the stars existed to contain the light. Such was His will and pleasure.
Now, He takes up a cross, and carries it Himself.
Why does He take up the cross?
It must be because He wills it. No one can force Him to do something He does not will. When Herod tried to kill Him, He fled with His parents into Egypt. When the villagers tried to hurl Him off a cliff, He passed through their midst unharmed. He could leave at any moment.
Why does He stay?
Why does He carry the cross Himself?
Because it is yours, and He loves you.
This is the wedding custom of Heaven. First, the Bridegroom takes everything the bride has to Himself; then He pours Himself out on the bride. And so it is today. The Wedding Feast of the Lamb has begun. It begins in the Passion and will culminate in Heaven. In Heaven, He will give to you, His bride, every good gift. But first, He takes everything that is yours upon Himself. You are a fallen creature. You long for Heaven, but you don’t live in Heaven, so He came down from Heaven to be with you. You are in pain, and He willingly accepts pain. You have weakness, and He takes that as well. You have humiliation, fear, sorrow, failure, loneliness, despair. Your Bridegroom comes to you, crowned with your crown of thorns, covered with your welts, tortured to the point of death because death and torture are the currency of this fallen world. He picks up your dowry, everything you have, and He carries it to Golgatha to be nailed to it, and die your death.
Somehow, someday, all will be made well, through the mercy of God. He will wipe every tear from our eyes on that day.
But first come Good Friday and the Cross.
First, the terrible Mystery: that whenever we cry tears, our God cries with us. And whenever we are broken, Christ is broken with us. And whenever our burdens are too heavy to bear, the Lover of Mankind is there, in the overwhelm, suffering as we suffer.
The Wedding Feast of the Lamb has begun.
Go and give everything you have to Him.
Let Him carry it to Golgatha with you.
(Steel Magnificat will be meditating on the Way of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent. All Stations are linked in this post.)