It’s often been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And that certainly is true when it comes to “the cross.” I see pain and suffering. I see evil and evildoers, blood, torment and, of course, I see death. I feel his struggle, and that makes me broken hearted. The cross awakens all of my senses. The noise is deafening- the smack of the hammer, the jeers of the crowd. I hear the words, “It is Finished.” I see Mary’s tears staining her cheeks. I see John’s tenderness as he puts his arms around her. I step into the darkness and find a glimmer of hope. I hold tight and I wait for a sign.
It’s hope that lets the light into the dark passages of my life, and I know the same holds true for you. We all have those moments– the Lents, the deserts, those times when we turn on the news and see our cities in turmoil with hatred as their common denominator, when drugs are the number one killer of our young people, when our test results are not what we expect and sometimes they spell the word cancer, when our forever-marriages split and we suddenly know what alone feels like. It’s hope that carries us through. It’s hope that was written on that Good Friday afternoon sky. It’s hope that made us 3-day disciples waiting for the sign of the rolled back stone on the tomb. Hope is our anchor. An anchor to a cross that will tell quite a story during this Lenten journey. Stay tuned, will you?
Are we thinking things through before we act? ... Before making a quick decision, pray and discern your choices and actions. Is this something Jesus would do? Are we putting God first in our lives? ... Families are very busy today with sports and other activities which can “clash” with Mass. Look around at the local churches to find their Mass times. Probably one will fit your schedule. Don’t put off Mass. Are we going out of our way to help those in need? ... In our parish alone there are a number of ways we can help those who are hurting: the St. Crispin Fund, community dinner, food bank, and prayer ministry. Step up to the plate and help. Are we beginning and ending our day with prayer? ... Family prayer at breakfast and at night brings us one with Jesus. He said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them.” Keep Jesus an important part of your life. You are already important in His! As we journey this Lenten season, may we anchor ourselves in the distant ocean- the way to God, through our words and actions.
Let’s recall the myth of Pandora’s Box. This myth tells the story of a woman who had a box which she was forbidden to open. As the years went on, she became more and more curious and was obsessed with opening the forbidden box. One day her curiosity got the best of her and so, she opened it. And as she did, all of the evils of the world were released. She was overwhelmed. But at the end of the story, there was a “glimmer of light.” After all of the horrible things were released from the box, Pandora saw one last thing remaining inside– and that was HOPE. This myth tells us why it is so important for us to have hope. We have often heard that as long as there is life, there is hope. But actually, the very opposite is true– as long as we have hope, life will be sustained, life will be protected, life will continue to grow.
Pope Francis tells us that “Life is often a desert, it is difficult to walk, but if we trust in God, it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Never lose hope; continue to believe, always, in spite of everything. Hope opens new horizons, making us capable of dreaming what is not even imaginable.” Real hope, based on spiritual experiences, is an anchor to our souls, capable of having precisely the same effects as a sea anchor. Like Pandora’s box, “life’s box” can open its lid and spill storms that will descend on our seemingly safe harbors of home, family, church, and our relationships. When it does, look hard, it’s there- find that glimmer of light—and let Hope be your anchor.
When you picture an anchor, generally what comes to mind is the image of a heavy object that's tied to a ship and which keeps it secure to the bottom of the sea. An anchor is something that provides a firm foundation and security. In Scripture, the term anchor is used metaphorically to represent God and faith, that which keeps us steadfast and gives us hope during the trials and storms of life.
Have you ever watched a large ship weigh its anchor? It is fascinating to watch the massive links of chain being lowered or raised from the bow of the ship. If an anchor is placed properly on the bottom of the sea, it can hold a giant ship fast, even in rough seas. Just as ships need anchors to keep them from drifting away on the open seas, people need spiritual anchors in their lives if they are to remain steadfast and not drift from their faith in God and in his Son, Jesus Christ. We must hold fast during times of social turbulence that seem to be everywhere today.
Your personal chain that anchors your soul to the gospel can be as strong as you want to make it. Be grateful for the principle of repentance, which provides the way for us to strengthen any weak links in our chain. If you know that you are anchored to Jesus, but still feel like life’s trials are sometimes more than you can handle, find peace and strength in the knowledge that each day you have done the best you can in honoring Jesus and the faith we profess.
Remember that strengthening your own testimony is a lifelong process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t come easy. But it does last forever. Look to the Lord for strength. Work on one link at a time and strengthen each one until you feel anchored safely and securely and you can realize the true worth of your own anchor.