The cross is the symbol of
what is at the core of Jesus'
person: "The way we came to
understand love was that He
laid down His life for us; we,
too, must lay down our lives
for one another."
(1 Jn 3:16).
The cruciﬁed Jesus proclaims that
self-giving love is at the heart of
being God and at the heart of being
human. It is most important that we
ourselves experience the love God
reveals through the cross, that we
have a deep conﬁdence in a
personal loving God who works
actively in our lives. This is the
foundation [for our ministry].
Our own experience of God's
love will move us to proclaim it
as good news. This love is
self-giving, sacriﬁcial, forgiving,
healing, unifying, loyal to one's
friends, powerless in solidarity
with the weak, and utterly
conﬁdent in the power of God.
2. Meditate on the cruciﬁed Lord
in the "cruciﬁed peoples"
Sin continues to work in our times,
crucifying the Lord of history.
Vincentians see the cruciﬁed every day
in the streets of large cities and in poor
country villages. But it is so easy for the
"world", and for us too, to become
numb to their plight.
Our contemplation of the
cruciﬁed Lord cannot remain
merely a pious exercise; nor
can it be simply meditation
on a past event. The Lord
lives on in His members. He
is cruciﬁed in individual
persons and in suffering
peoples. The call is to see
Him and to serve Him there.
One of the great gifts of our
founder [St. Vincent de Paul]
was the ability to recognize the
cruciﬁed Christ in the face of the
suffering and to mobilize the
energies of others in their
service. He was an extraordinary
organizer. To aid the most
abandoned of his time, he
gathered together rich and poor,
women and men, clergy and lay.
As he contemplated
suffering humanity, he
knew, to use the
eloquent please of a
contemporary writer, that
the "cruciﬁed peoples"
bring salvation to us, as
we labor to take them
down from the cross.
In a Lenten framework, our meditation on:
1) the cruciﬁed Lord, who loves us even to
death, and 2) on the cruciﬁed peoples in
whom the Lord continues to live, will
always he brightened by resurrection faith.
The Gospel is always good news. It
proclaims loud and clear that suffering love
triumphs, that the power of God works
through human weakness, that the light
overcomes the darkness, that there is
hope even in the face of hopelessness.
Source: 1992 Lenten Letter of Superior General
Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M.