As we celebrate the Feast of the Cross it is most unlikely that one would not hear about sufferings. Yet certain things need to be made blatant. Christ never romanticized suffering rather He confronted, subverted and transfigured it. In fact, He taught to evade the sufferings which are possible to evade. For instance He said; “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next” (Matt 10:23).
He very well knew that the blind needed to see, the deaf needed to hear and the lame needed to walk thus He healed them rather than glorifying their suffering. Even His prayer at Gethsemane reveals His confrontation with suffering. Taking pleasure in passively accepting and endorsing suffering under the pretence of ‘the Cross of Christ’ without showing the nerve to conquer it is more of Stockholm Syndrome.
It is a dominant strategy of the oppressor to use the Cross of Christ as a malleable icon to inflict suffering upon others without letting the oppressed feel the yoke of suffering. Consequently compliance is manufactured in such a way that the slaves cherish their slavery equating their ordeals as a sacrifice appealing to God. It is like the wolf licking the blade and bleeding to death.
Cross in the hands of the powerful becomes a means to legitimize suffering. Christ through his crucifixion and resurrection has grabbed the Cross from the hands of the oppressor and transformed it into a symbol of resistance and hope for the oppressed. As Jonathan Martin writes;
“The power of the cross from the very beginning of the Christian story is this: the oppressed took the very means of terror out of the hands of the oppressor and subverted it, transfigured it, and transmuted it into a sign of defiant, hard-edged hope. The oppressed stole the language and iconography of the empire, emptied it of the meaning assigned by the empire, and made it mean what they wanted to mean. If you thought the cross was a sign of piety, you were only half right. The cross is not what compliance looks like, but defiance.”
So keep in mind;
Sexual Abuse is not a cross to bear.
Domestic violence is not a cross to bear.
Patriarchy is not a cross to bear.
Discrimination on the ground of caste, class, creed, colour, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sex, disability, language and the like is not a cross to bear.
In short Cross is not the vices the world imposes on us but the sufferings we voluntarily accept not to succumb to them but to transfigure them by the grace of God. As Christ says; “No one takes my life from me but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:18). Cross is not coercion but a personal podvig.
~ 𝐃𝐚𝐲𝐫𝐨𝐲𝐨 𝐅𝐫. 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥