The following excerpt is taken from a speech titled “A Way of the Cross Society,” delivered at the American TFP’s 2014 National Conference on October 25th, in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.
We need the cross in a Way of the Cross society. But we also need to find the way—but not just any way. There must be a definite path, purpose and goal in mind when pursuing the Way of the Cross.
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And again, the modern concept of a Way of the Cross often simplifies the matter giving the impression that carrying the cross means aimlessly going about carrying around a cross without any specific goal in mind.
That is not true. The Gospel clearly tells us where we must go. It indicates the way. We need to carry our cross, like Christ, all the way up toward Cavalry. Our path is a deliberate and strong effort upward toward perfection, excellence, and sanctification.
This could be seen in medieval man who reasoned that Christ in His Passion took His mission to its final consequences. With Christ as the perfect model, the ideal of the “Way of the Cross” served to awaken in men a passionate pursuit of excellence, beauty and sanctity. Thus the Way of the Cross consisted in doing all things well, completely and resolutely to the end.
And so to medieval man, this pursuit of excellence was an arduous task, not unlike a Way of the Cross that ultimately led to God. In his day-to-day work, he believed he could give glory to God by making His creation even more excellent. And when everyone did this, all society came to love beautiful, holy and excellent things as a way that they might know and love God better.
In such a society, one recognizes that all things worth doing take time, effort and suffering. It is not English 101 that makes the writer famous, but English 10,001 that produces masterpieces. All this is arduous work that is the path of the Way of the Cross. And it is in this suffering that things take on meaning and beauty and life becomes most interesting.