Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Met Antonius (el-Souri) on the Cross

Arabic original here.

On the Cross

People free from the cross in their life, thinking that it is a brutal pain. Not every pain is a cross. People err when they think that way. There is no cross outside of the relationship with Christ, because He is the one who says, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).

The cross comes from denying the self, from one's effort to return to worshiping God from worshiping oneself. Renouncing love of the self is the greatest pain. All other pains are easy compared to it.

The practical question is, how does one worship himself?

Perhaps most people don't see this within themselves. But the question is simple, because every action by which a person strives to affirm himself outside of God is worship of the self. This is what leads to people's struggles among themselves because they cannot accept each other. Indeed, each one wants to dominate the other in thought, in word or in deed.

So long as the other constitutes a threat to my existence, I follow the passion of my ego. When the other becomes my life and my joy, I have become a slave to God because I have been liberated from my ego. Can you love the other? Accept him? Tolerate him? Not judge him? Excuse his failings? Rejoice in sacrifice for his sake? Be broken in order to gain him? Share in his sufferings? See your failings that hurt him and try by the grace of God to change for his sake...?

The transparent answers to all these questions and more is your honest mirror which tells you whether you worship yourself or God. And so the true cross is the path of repentance and the true resurrection comes to you by way of this cross and in it because, if you truly choose your cross, it becomes the path of your salvation. He who has ears to her, let him hear.

Metropolitan of Zahle, Baalbek and their Dependencies

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