Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Spending time with the cross

March 13, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

As we continue along this Lenten journey, I think our attention should now be more and more on the cross of Jesus. The Lenten story is about the cross. Jesus’ story is about the cross. Our story is about the cross of Jesus.

For us, Catholics, the cross is everywhere. There is a cross on the top of all our churches, the cross is over the altar in our sanctuaries, the cross is on each of our rosaries, the cross is on the cover of all our liturgical books. Each time we, Catholics, begin to pray, we start by making the sign of the cross. Actually, each time we, Catholics, want to do something religious, we make the Sign of the Cross. We, Catholics, are easily identified by our making of the Sign of the Cross.

During Lent, one of our best devotions is the Stations of the Cross. As we walk from station to station, the cross in each image holds our attention. Each time we come to the station of Jesus’ falling, it is the burden of the cross that falls upon him.

And there is that impressive station where Simon of Cyrene steps forward to carry the cross for Jesus – a moment of deep meditation. Would I have stepped forward? Would I have offered to carry the cross for Jesus? Now, it is important for us to realize that when we accept the many challenges as disciples of Jesus, we are truly taking our turn in carrying the cross for Jesus.

Again, I want to continue to encourage you to take that personal walk along the Stations of the Cross during Lent in your Church. Go around the Stations by yourself – quietly, silently, walking with Jesus – listening to the Lord’s words for you. I can tell you that I have experienced rather powerful messages from the Lord.

Recently, I talked with the children about the cross. I found it rather difficult to talk about this terrible punishment for a condemned criminal in those days. This was such an unbelievable punishment. I made an effort to show them that, because it was our Lord, the Son of God who accepted this suffering and death on this cross, that we now see the cross as a sign of love, a sign of God’s love and His care and concern for us.

Each time, I, as a priest, give a blessing – a blessing to a child, to someone who is sick and dying, a blessing during Mass – I use the Sign of the Cross. I am proclaiming for all to see that Jesus has transformed this once evil sign of pain and suffering to a sign for all times of our Lord’s love and his readiness to sacrifice for all who are in need.

Each Good Friday, during the prayer service, we, the disciples of Lord, include a ritual in which we venerate the cross of Jesus. A deacon enters the Church carrying a large cross as we remember the cross of Jesus. He processes to the front stopping three times singing, “Behold, the wood o the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.” The congregation responds, “Come, let us adore.” We all are then invited forward to venerate the cross as we remember and celebrate the cross of Jesus. There was a time when we were asked to remove our shoes, a sign of humility as we approached the cross of the Lord.

So, the cross of Jesus is a profoundly sacred icon for us, Catholics. We celebrate the cross of Jesus. We remember that Jesus suffered and died for us on the cross, for all of us. Lent is our time to walk with Jesus on this way of the cross, a time for us to stand at the foot of the cross of Jesus. In fact, we are invited to unite ourselves on the cross with Jesus.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.