I sat in the darkness, praying in adoration with over one hundred high schoolers. The monstrance holding the Eucharist was a beautiful, golden cross surrounded by a table of candles and spotlights drawing your attention to Jesus in the center.
As I gazed upon it, I was struck by the strength and beauty of the cross. This is not the cross that I envision when I hear that we are to pick up our crosses daily. The one that I see is rough, wooden, heavy, and harsh. But this one drew me in and wouldn't let me go.
This solid, strong, gold cross spoke volumes to me.
We all have our crosses to bear. Some of us willingly accept them, some of us try to run from them, and some of us outright deny that they are there. But each time that we take them up, each time that we take on whatever it is that God has given us, that cross is transformed just a little bit.
Piece by piece that rough-hewn wood is transformed into beautiful gold. Piece by piece that sign of weakness and failure is transformed into a sign of beauty, grace and strength. Piece by piece, what is seen as burden or trial or failure is transformed into a firm foundation for our faith. And all of this with Jesus in the center.
It's a beautiful thing.