We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew. — 1 Cor 2:7–8
The midpoint of Great Lent sees the cross in our midst. St. Paul says that the word of the cross is “foolishness” to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1). The cross does not make sense to the world. Who would choose humiliation, agony, suffering and death as the way to salvation? Yet, there it is. We are confronted with it. The Church gives us the cross now to sharpen and change our focus from ourselves and our meager Lenten efforts to the destination.
Our Lenten journey is the struggle to see “through” the world in order to understand what is hidden and mysterious to those captured by the world. We fast, we pray, we give alms, and we forgive as our own crosses when the wisdom of the world tells us to fill, glorify, and hoard money for ourselves and stick it to the other guy when he deserves it. The Christian faith makes no sense unless we begin by uniting ourselves to Christ in baptism and taking up our cross. Even then, the demons constantly whisper: “Take care of yourself. God is not there. A cross is cruel and has no value.”
Those who are wise in the hidden mysteries of Christ will never be seen as wise in the eyes of the world. May we all be fools in taking up our crosses!
Very Rev. John J. Dresko, Retired Pastor
St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
Las Vegas, NV
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Icon from IOCC’s image library (Byzantine and Christian Museum, public domain).