Adam fell into sinfulness in the Garden of Eden by the wood of a tree. Jesus, the New Adam, falls on His path to Golgatha by the wood of His cross. However, when Adam fell, he fell into sinfulness and did not rise. His descendants inherited this sinfulness, this falling — thus, this fallen nature.
Now, Jesus corrects this as the New Adam by rising from His fall. No longer are we trapped in the fallen, sinful nature of the first Adam. Now, we are caught up in the renewing rise of the New Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.
As brothers and sisters of Christ, as disciples and followers of Him, we have hope despite our sinfulness because of the New Adam. With His grace, we can rise from our sinful habits or tendencies. Christ rose with His cross, carrying the burden of all sinfulness on His own shoulders. We do not rise alone from our falls and failings. We cannot rise alone from them. Jesus falls with us and rises with us, and He is the one who gives us the strength and grace to rise when we do fall.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, we meet Jesus at His fall. We acknowledge that He fell while carrying the cross because the cross was heavy with our sins. We come to Him, fallen, confessing all the ways in which we have brought Him down and burdened Him. Yet, in His mercy, when we come to Him as repentant sinners, He picks us up and gives us the grace through this awesome sacrament to keep going with love for Him, just as He kept going with love for us.
The true symbol of love is not the red heart shape that we see on “I heart NY” t-shirts or on greeting cards on Valentine’s Day. The true symbol of perfect love is revealed on this station. It is the cross.
How beautiful is the Father’s divine plan? In Jesus’ time, the cross was a symbol of evil and sin. Criminals who have committed the harshest of crimes are nailed to the wood and they are displayed to public to die in pain and in shame. In His great wisdom, the Father chose the cross to give to His Son, Jesus Christ, to teach the world about sacrificial love (John 3:16).
When we are called to make a Lenten promise, we are meant to use this practice as a way to understand the meaning of sacrifice. To be Christ-like, we must embrace the burden of our cross today. Our cross will never be as heavy as the one that Jesus bore for all of us, but our cross will try us. Our cross will make our faith waver. It will make us tired. It will even overwhelm us, but with prayer, it cannot defeat us.
After a great couple of faith-filled years as Youth Editor at The Catholic Register, I’ll be leaving at the end of July.
Since we launched this blog a year ago with The Register’s travels to World Youth Day, we’ve written about local events from the archdiocese of Toronto and beyond and past and current YSNers have used this space to reflect on issues of faith and their views of the world as Catholic youth.
It’s been a great tool to supplement the work that’s featured in the print pages of Youth Speak News…and will continue to be! With more than 15,000 hits over the past year, I’m confident it will continue to grow and flourish. Our audience is international, too, with readers from as far away as India, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia.
Thank you for reading and supporting the YSN blog. We appreciate your company as we explore the ups, downs and in-betweens of being Catholic youth!
If you’d like to contribute to the YSN blog, we’re happy to consider guest columns from youth on topics of faith or even submissions with a more creative flair, starting in the fall.
Guest post by YSN 2010/11 writer Sarah Gagliano
A few weeks ago I met up with a friend of mine, who I will call Sandra in order to protect confidentiality, for coffee. I first met Sandra a couple of years ago when I was part of a group of teenage youth group leaders and she was the main leader of this group at my local parish.
Although her age would make her more like a mother figure, her level of passion for her faith is truly rejuvenating. Sandra is a faith-filled person who recently received her Master’s of Theology and I admire her perseverance. We had a nice conversation at the coffee shop. We talked about various topics including the start of a new chapter in my own life, the start of my Master’s of Science in September. Sandra told me an interesting story that I could not help stop thinking about even days after.
The story was about her son, who is a medical school student. As part of the clinical rotation requirements, her son was shadowing a medical practitioner at an abortion clinic. The practitioner explained that on this particular occasion, the procedure was being carried out for therapeutic reasons. Nevertheless, as her son explained to her on the phone the following day, he had felt uncomfortable throughout the whole procedure. Sandra told me that she was pleasantly surprised that Jessie had been touched by this ethical situation, since she had always thought that his faith was “not as strong.” However, she told me that she knew that this occasion would not be the last of these personal struggles.
Like Sandra’s son, all healthcare providers and those involved in scientific research will be faced with ethical situations that challenge their faith throughout their careers. As a student who will be commencing a Master’s of Science, I too will join the ranks of the above group. Although I will be directly involved in neither clinical research nor in any hands-on laboratory experiments, and consequently my experiences may not be as vivid as Jessie’s, I will not escape the faith challenges inherent to this field.
In light of Spain’s recent Euro Cup win over Portugal, here’s some celebratory photos from last year’s World Youth Day in Madrid. Only about a year to go until WYD Rio 2013! Are you going?
Under the leadership of the HEART committee, St. Augustine Catholic High School in Unionville has raised $10,000 for partner schools in Uganda. Founded in 2002, HEART stands for Helping Education in Africa: Reaching Together.
The recipient schools, St. Charles Lwango Training School and Sacred Heart Primary School, are administered by the Religious Sisters of the Sacred Heart. They were established as residential schools for young people whose parents were dying from AIDS.
St. Augustine’s HEART committee poses with their $10,000 cheque. (Photo courtesy of Bertha Yetman)
The Archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Catholic Youth has announced they won’t be organizing a delegation to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day 2013.
For more details, here’s a link to the story in this week’s edition of The Catholic Register.
Does this impact your decision to go? Will you be travelling with your parish? Let us know!
More than 600 students and their families participated in The Angel Foundation for Learning’s 12th Annual 5 km Fun Walk on May 6.
The walk raised money to benefit the Foundation’s Social Work Emergency Fund which assists Toronto Catholic District School Board students in need of basic essentials such as warm clothing, hearing aids, eyeglasses and Epi-pens. Here’s a shot from the event, via Rose Cutrara.