Ave Maria Meditations
Unless there is a Good Friday in our lives, there will never be an Easter Sunday. The Cross is the condition of the empty tomb, and the crown of thorns is the preface to the halo of light.
“Plunging into the Life of Christ what seemed to stare at me from pages of the Gospel was that Christ, the Son of God, did not come into this world to live. He came into it to die. Death was the goal of His life, the gold that He was seeking. … Unless there is Good Friday in our lives there will never be an Easter Sunday. The Cross is the condition of the empty tomb, and the crown of thorns is the preface to the halo of light…
When all is said and done, there are only two philosophies of life. One is the first the feast, then the hangover; the other, first the fast and then the feast. Deferred joys purchased by sacrifices are always sweetest and most enduring. Christianity begins not with sunshine but with defeat. Sunshine religions that begin with psychic elation, end often in disillusionment and despair…
I believe that the whole political and religious situation of the world can be summed up in terms of the divorce of Christ from His cross. Put the cross-less Christ on the right side, and the Christ-less Cross of Christ on the left. Who picks up the crossless Christ? Our decadent Western civilization. Christ is weak, effeminate, with no authority to drive buyers and sellers out of temples, and never speaks of self-discipline, restraint and mortification. Who picks up the Christless Cross? Russia and China, where there is a dedication to a common ideology, the use of discipline and authority to keep peace and order. But neither can heal.
The crossless Christ leaves men burdened with their guilt which festers in a thousand neuroses and psychoses. The Christless Cross cannot save for it ends in Dachau , the Gulag Archipelago and the squeezing of the lives of millions like grapes to make the collective wine of the State. Which will first find Christ with the Cross? The totalitarian states who have the Cross without Love, or the Western world which has love-so often erotic-without sacrifice? We do not know. But we do know that at the end of time, when the great conflict between the forces of good and evil takes place, satan will appear without the Cross, as the Great Philanthropist and Social Reformer to become the final temptation.
Ven. Fulton Sheen