Monday, September 15, 2008

Knock On Wood...

“To have found the cross is to have found happiness, it is to have found you, Lord!” – St. Jose Maria Escriva

What a great day to have celebrated the Triumph of the Cross. This past week my Philosophy professor brought up a side note in class about superstition. It is funny and interesting to think about how superstitious our society is. Just think to yourself; do you have that piece of clothing you wear that is your lucky pair of socks, shirt, or shoes? Have you ever “knocked on wood before?” Have you claimed that a team does better when you don’t watch? I am guilty! I still have a t-shirt that I wore underneath my football pads that I wore for every single game. I didn’t feel right if I didn’t wear it.

My mom is also a great example of this – sometimes she thinks that if she covers her eyes during a sporting event, the team will do better. We are all guilty of some sort of superstition at some point in our lives, but what exactly is our reason for doing it?

We do these things because we think it will prevent bad things from happening. If we knock on wood, we won’t get sick. If we wear our lucky pair of socks we won’t lose the game. If we don’t watch, our favorite team will win. In the end, we don’t want bad things to happen so we claim certain things might help prevent the loss our outcome.

Last week, my professor related superstition to our faith, because we treat it the same way. We tell ourselves that if we have faith, then no bad things will happen to us. If we have faith, grandma won’t die. If we have faith, my girlfriend or boyfriend will be all I ever wanted. If we have faith we won’t study and still get a good grade. If we have faith the hurricane will miss our house. If we have faith, we will have more money. We can go on and on, but does faith really prevent bad things from happening?

It could. God does many mysterious things. But is that the purpose of faith? I am not quite convinced. My friends, I think faith prepares and gives us all that we need to deal with our experiences in life - the good and the bad. Faith in Jesus is not a cure for the prevention of struggles in your life, it is a gift of endurance and grace to meet life head on. We must not live our lives avoiding failure, losing games, broken friendships, tough times and all the rest. We must live our lives in hope that faith in Christ gives us a new way to see the world, a new way to experience life, and a new way to look to what is to come.

As we look upon the cross today, celebrating Christ’s sacrifice, it is a good time for self reflection in our own lives. Where is the cross in your life? Is it family troubles? Is it challenges in school or sports? Are you having trouble connecting with friends or peers? Are you making poor social decisions leading you to drink or engage in at risk behavior? Do you miss a deceased family member or friend? Are you lonely? Depressed? All these things are the crosses in our lives. And today we celebrate the victory that is ours.

My friends, the great news is that Christ has won! He is calling all of us to suffer faithfully and joyfully with the crosses in our own lives. Remember that faith in our Lord does not take the daily struggles out of our lives, but it gives us the courage and strength to embrace the cross. It also gives us a certain peace to love the crosses in our lives. Love the cross!

Today, instead of putting on the lucky t-shirt, or knocking on wood, or pretending not to watch when your team is down, put a cross in your pocket or around your neck - there is no need for superstition to prevent bad things from happening. We have faith in the cross of Jesus to prepare and inspire us to face the daily joys and struggles of life.

Amen to that! May he be praised!

God Bless You,

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