Let Us Try to Become “Wise Thieves”: Saints on the Christ’s Cross and the Cross of Everyone of Us

The veneration of the Lord’s cross is inseparably connected with the Atonement Sacrifice of the Godman Jesus Christ. By venerating the cross, the Orthodox Christian venerates God the Word Himself, Who deigned to be embodied and choose the cross as a sign of victory over sin and death, reconciliation and unity of a man and God, and the granting of a new life transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, the image of the Cross is filled with special grace, for through the crucifixion of the Savior, the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s grace is revealed, which is communicated to all those who truly believe in the atoning death of Christ.

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The crucifixion of Christ is an action of free Divine love, it is an action of free will of Christ Savior, Who gives Himself to death, so that others can live — live eternal life, live with God. And for all this, the Cross is a sign, because, in the end, love, loyalty, devotion are experienced not by words, nor even by life, but by giving one’s life for someone; it is not about death only, but about denouncing oneself  to such an extent that only love remains within a person: cross love, sacrificial love, self-giving love, dying and death for oneself so that the other could live.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

 

The image of the Cross shows the reconciliation and fellowship of a person and God. Therefore, the demons are afraid of the image of the Cross, and they cannot stand to see the sign of the Cross depicted even in the air, but they run away from it immediately, knowing that the Cross is a sign of the fellowship between people and God and that they, as apostates and enemies of God, are remote from His Divine face, and they have no longer freedom to get close to those who have been reconciled with God and united with Him, and they can no longer tempt them. If it seems that they tempt some Christians, let everyone know that they fight those who have not known the high sacrament of the Cross.

Saint Symeon the New Theologian

 

It is necessary to pay special attention to the fact that every person in his life’s path should raise his own cross. There are countless crosses, but only my cross heals my ulcers, only mine will be my salvation, and only mine I will bear with God’s help, for it was given to me by the Lord Himself. How not to make a mistake, how not to take the cross of your own volition, that volition, which in the first place should be crucified on the cross of selflessness?! A self-willed feat is a self-made cross, and the bearing of such a cross always ends in a great fall.

But what does one’s cross mean? This means to go through life along one’s own path, drawn for every person by the Providence of God, and on this path to accept those very sorrows that the Lord will give to one (If you have made vows of monasticism – do not seek marriage, if you are tied with a family – do not strive for freedom from children and your spouse). Do not look for greater sorrows and feats than those that are on your life path – it is pride leads you astray. Do not seek liberation from the sorrows and labors that have been sent to you – it is self-pity pulls you off the cross.

Yes, each person has his own cross. And every Christian is commanded to accept this cross with selflessness and follow Christ. And to follow Christ is to study the Holy Gospel so that only it becomes an active leader in our bearing of our life cross. The mind, heart and body, with all their explicit and secret movements and deeds, must serve and express the saving truths of Christ’s teaching. And all this means that I deeply and sincerely acknowledge the healing power of the cross and justify God’s judgment of me. And then my cross becomes the Cross of the Lord.

Archimandrite John Krestiankin

 

It is necessary to worship and honor not only the one Life-giving Cross on which Christ was crucified, but also any Cross created in the image and likeness of that Life-giving Cross of Christ. It should be worshiped as the very one on which Christ was nailed. After all, Grace and Sanctification come from the Christ our God Nailed on the Cross where the Cross from any substance is depicted.

Saint Joseph Volotsky

 

A cross without love cannot be thought about and imagined: where is the Cross, there is love; in the church you see crosses everywhere and on everything so that everything reminds you that you are in the temple of the God of love, in the temple of Love crucified for us.

Saint John of Kronstadt

 

At Calvary, there were three crosses. All people in their lives bear a cross, symbolized by one of the Calvary crosses. The few saints, chosen friends of God, bear the Cross of Christ. Some are honored with the cross of the wise thief, the cross of repentance, which led to salvation. And many, unfortunately, bear the cross of that thief who was and remains a prodigal son, because he did not want to repent. Whether we like it or not, we are all “thieves”. Let us try to become “wise thieves” at least.

Archimandrite Nectarios (Antonopoulos)

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

Editor

About the author

The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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