Imprimi Potest, Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, 1950
I --- Grandeur of the Name, Friends of the Cross
2. Friends of the Cross, you are a group of crusaders united to fight against the world, not like those religious, men and women, who leave the world for fear of being overcome, but like brave, intrepid warriors on the battlefront, refusing to retreat or even to yield an inch. Be brave. Fight with all your might.
Bind yourselves together in that strong union of heart and mind which is far superior, far more terrifying to the world and hell than the armed forces of a well-organized kingdom are to its enemies. Demons are united for your destruction, but you, be united for their overthrow; the avaricious are united to barter and hoard up gold and silver, combine your efforts in the pursuit of the eternal treasures hidden in the Cross; reprobates unite to make merry, but you, be united to suffer.
3. You call yourselves "Friends of the Cross." What a wonderful name! I must admit that it charms and fascinates me. It is brighter than the sun, higher than the heavens, more imposing and resplendent than any title given to king or emperor. It is the great name of Christ Himself, true God and true Man at one and the same time. It is the unmistakable title of a Christian.
4. Its splendor dazzles me but the weight of it frightens me. For this title implies that you have taken upon yourselves difficult and inescapable obligations, which are summed up in the words of the Holy Ghost: "A chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people" (1 Peter 2, 9).
A Friend of the Cross is one chosen by God from among ten thousand who have reason and sense for their only guide. He is truly divine, raised above reason and thoroughly opposed to the things of sense, for he lives in the light of true faith and burns with love for the Cross.
A Friend of the Cross is a mighty king, a hero who triumphs over the devil, the world and the flesh and their three-fold concupiscence. He overthrows the pride of Satan by his love for humiliation, he triumphs over the world's greed by his love for poverty and he restrains the sensuality of the flesh by his love for suffering.
A Friend of the Cross is a holy man, separated from visible things. His heart is lifted high above all that is frail and perishable, "his conversation is in Heaven" (Phil. 3, 20); he journeys here below like a stranger and pilgrim. He keeps his heart free from the world, looks upon it with an unconcerned glance of his left eye and disdainfully tramples it under foot.
A Friend of the Cross is a trophy which the crucified Christ won on Calvary in union with His Blessed Mother. He is another Benoni (Gen. 35, 18) or Benjamin, a son of sorrow, a son of the right hand. Conceived in the sorrowful heart of Christ, he comes into this world through the gash in the Savior's right side and is all empurpled in His blood. True to this heritage, he breathes forth only crosses and blood, death to the world, the flesh and sin and hides himself here below with Jesus Christ in God (Col. 3, 3).
Thus, a perfect Friend of the Cross is a true Christ-bearer or rather another Christ, so much so that he can say with truth: "I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2, 20).
5. My dear Friends of the Cross, does every act of yours justify what the eminent name you bear implies? Or at least are you, with the grace of God, in the shadow of Calvary's Cross and of Our Lady of Pity, really eager and truly striving to attain this goal? Is the way you follow the one that leads to this goal? Is it the true way of life, the narrow way, the thorn-strewn way to Calvary? Or are you unconsciously traveling the world's broad road, the road to perdition? Do you realize that there is a highroad which to all appearances is straight and safe for man to travel, but which in reality leads to death?
6. Do you really know the voice of God and grace from the voice of the world and human nature? Do you distinctly hear the voice of God, our kind Father, pronouncing His three-fold curse upon every one who follows the world in its concupiscence: "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth" (Apoc. 8, 13) and then appealing to you with outstretched arms: "Be separated, My chosen people (Is. 48, 20; 52, 11; Jer. 50, 8; 51, 6), beloved Friends of the Cross of My Son, be separated from those worldlings, for they are accursed by My Majesty, repudiated by My Son (John 17, 9) and condemned by My Holy Spirit (John 16, 8-12). Do not sit in their chair of pestilence; take no part in their gatherings; do not even step along their highways (Ps. 1, 1). Hurry away from this great and infamous Babylon (Is. 48, 20; Jer. 51, 6), hearken only to the voice of My Beloved Son; follow only in His footprints; for He is the One I have given to be your Way, Truth, Life (John 14, 6) and Model: hear ye Him" (Matt. 17, 5; Luke 9, 35; Mark 9, 6; 2 Pet. 1, 17).
Is your ear attentive to the pleadings of the lovable and cross-burdened Jesus, "Come, follow Me; he that followeth Me walketh not in darkness (John 8, 12); have confidence, I have conquered the world" (John 16, 33)?
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