Again, at the onset of fasting, preparation for communion, repentance, and ascetic feats, the Cross of Christ is erected before us; and it makes us think of ourselves, of our soul, of its Christian destiny.
Indeed, we usually go about our daily lives, our everyday pursuits, worries, anxieties, and spite; sometimes we rejoice, sometimes we are sad, sometimes we are irritated, sometimes we have fun and do not think at all about our Christian calling. Just imagine that some trouble has hit us, some grief has befallen us, especially the death of our loved one, our father or mother: doesn’t it seem obvious that our mood immediately changes? We become sad, depressed, and most importantly, we begin to believe more deeply; everything that interested us a minute ago now seems empty and insignificant in the face of death.
In the same way, beloved brethren, the Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross affects us: it also reminds us of the death of Christ the Savior, which He went through for our sins; it vividly reminds us of the Savior’s power to fight sin. The power of this struggle is the Cross! The cross is a symbol of self-crucifixion! Thus, we see that the cross has become a symbol of a Christian, not because Christ was crucified on it, but because when we look at the cross, we must remember that we will suffer in life and then die. In fact, all the Sacraments and rites remind us of this. What is the Sacrament of Baptism? Death for sin. The Sacrament of Repentance and Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ is our partaking of the painful life of Christ the Savior. The cross on the church dome and on your chest should remind a Christian of the struggle against sin.
There is a split in our souls, for sin lives in them; two persons live in us. One is kind: he loves the good; he is ready to accept the whole world; he is humble, tolerant, and loves his enemies. The other one loves the flesh; he’s vain, jealous, and voluptuous… Our whole life goes in the struggle between these two persons, that is, the struggle of good with the yoke of evil. Our struggle to conquer evil is the goal of the entire life of a Christian.
July 31, 1907
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds