05 Jan Temple of Faith in God and The Victory of the Cross.
Temple of Faith in God and The Victory of the Cross.
The storm of events in 2020 has unexpectedly changed the lives of each of us. We became more detached from each other, because the constant persecuting fear of uncertainty has caused increasing confusion and anxiety in our hearts. “Here I am- send me!” (Isaiah 6,8). It is an encouragement for all the worshippers of the Living Rosary to participate in the mission of the Church. This year on 26th of July, we have organized a pilgrimage trip to the celebration at The Hill of Crosses. The traditional event of indulgence of Mount of Crosses began with the pilgrimage, bringing to Mount of Crosses a heavy, weighing 100 kg, Karavykas Cross of epidemic and hardships, thanking the Lord for His care and His grace of conversion, praying for staving off the coronavirus (Covid-19). We gathered at the Hill of Crosses led by The Bishop of Šiauliai, Eugene Bartulis together with the participation of bishops and priests from other dioceses. The Eucharist was led by the apostolic nuncio archbishop Petar Rajic. According to the apostolic nuncio archbishop Petar Rajic we came here to pay tribute to Jesus Christ’s Holy Cross and to put or erect your crosses or rosaries thus expressing our unity with the Lord in our personal sufferings in faith and in the hope of victory of the Cross over evil forces. We gathered as pilgrims here at The Hill of Crosses, at this sacred place, over the open sky, so important for the whole of Lithuania.
This Mountain of Crosses constantly attracts the locals and believers from the whole world. Many have been here visiting this place in the past, in small and large groups, which reminds sacrifice of Lord Jesus Christ on the hill of Calvary of Jerusalem. This place reminds us of our brothers and sisters, who have sacrificed for our homeland, as well as many people who have suffered from persecution during the years of occupation because of lack of religious and civil freedom. Here, memories of Christ’s suffering for the redemption of the world, personal and communal memories of suffering of Lithuanian people, who tried to find hope and comfort in the Jesus Cross. The most important pilgrim, built a cross on the occasion of his visit in Lithuania by the year of 1993, St. Pope John Paul II. The Pope build his cross in the middle of this sacred place in a conspicuous place. On the foundation of the cross in the marble board in English and Lithuanian there are written words: Thank you Lithuanians for this Mountain of Crosses, which testifies the faith of the people of this country for the Europeans and the whole world. We can only say a strong Amen after these words, because this place is indeed a sanctuary of faith in God and a victory of cross, which Lithuanians have shared with each other and with others for centuries. It is very significant that the pope’s cross is one of the largest, if not the largest, of all crosses on this mountain. It is a cross with a large dimension of an adult man – the body of Jesus, surrounded by many other crosses. He’s in a place where it looks like all the other crosses look towards that big and significant cross. As we think of this symbolic image, we think that the Pope is indeed carrying the greatest cross, that is, the greatest responsibility in the Church of Christ on this land. All believers, the whole nation of God, every bishop, priest, monk, nun, elderly, young people, and children, are entrusted to him. He is responsible for all. This is a special and responsible service entrusted to him by the Christ who was the first one nailed on the cross for the salvation of the world. No one can deny that the Pope is the main shepherd of the church, because he is the vicar of Christ on earth, obliged to strengthen faith of believers and to lead the believers who are entrusted to him. This is why we have to pray for the pope, personally for him, for his service in the Church. He is supported by prayers, sacrifices, and whole crosses of believers, who make sacrifice for God in every St. Mass and in public and private prayers. When Pope John Paul II was wounded in the failed assassination attempt on 13th of May in 1981 the next day the word had spread, that the next day a cross appeared on Mountain of the Crosses with a written prayer: for the healing of the Pope.
There is an indescribable grace for us to get to know the mystery of the cross from within. This is a revelation that we need because it is God’s answer to the mystery of the evil and suffering. That’s the puzzling answer. We often hear about evil in the world and ask ourselves why God allows this, why God does not stop evil, why he allows it to spread. Looks incredible. It is a test for the soul to see the pervasive evil around and God who is doing nothing, obviously not interfering in suffering, into the suffering of the innocents. Why? It’s a wound to the soul. Deep wound. The answer to this mystery is Cross of the Jesus. The secret that astonishes us. We believe in God’s obvious, clear, triumphant, wonderful victory. But God shows us the humblest victory. God allows to take evil on himself so that he could experience it and could surely overcome it. It is difficult to accept such a reality. It’s a hidden light, an inner secret light. To defeat death through death, overcome suffering through suffering, defeat evil allowing it to spread. It’s a very deep secret. And we know, we know the essence of this mystery, this essence of exceptional humility.
St. John wrote in Gospel: God loved the world so much that he gave his only son. Jesus became like that serpent raised in the desert. He became an image of suffering and at the same time became a cure for evil and suffering because of the great love God loved us. Jesus opened up to the spirit of God we had experienced, to the love of God. That’s how he changed everything fundamentally and gives us the opportunity to win with Him, to win the same victory with humility and love. In times of evil and suffering to find a pure love, love for Him who walked the path by loving till the very end. This is a divine answer that we must receive when we feel indignation in ourselves towards evil and we must help others to accept it for their liberation by bringing them closer to the Cross of Jesus.
So every time we look at Jesus on the cross, we must remember that the cross was the throne of His glory, where He defeated the evil and sin of the world. He reigns victoriously from the cross and was raised for His complete love for mankind. Let us go forward, carrying the cross of our lives, to learn the lesson of sacrificial love of Jesus. Which He shared because of our suffering and invited us to the victory of the cross and to the resurrection for eternal life. Amen.