Daughters, Our Lord unites Himself now permanently to you by allowing Himself to be nailed to the Cross. Forever, it must be the cherished place where you meet your Beloved; the marriage bed. Let your heart be fastened there with Him so as to remain steady in the face of the world's mockery and scorn and the hard iron winters of the spirit when there is no consolation but only the obedience of faith.
“He who is God is also man, perfectly man. He will not allow any miracle to help Him now.
He who is going to indwell everyone who loves Him—be he sinner or saint—through all the generations to come accepts the limitations of their human nature as His own, and so that He may not fall from the cross, by His own will He lets Himself be fastened to it.
As Christ stretched out His beautiful craftsman’s hands and composed His blameless feet on the hard wood of the cross to receive the nails, He was reaching out to countless people through all time: as He stretched His body on that great tree that was to flower with His life forever, He gave Himself to be made one with all those who in every generation to come would willingly bind and fasten themselves irrevocably to the cross, for the love of God and the love of men.
For all through time for those who love Christ and who want to be one with Him, love and the cross would be inseparable; but because Christ willed that He should be nailed to the cross Himself in His human nature, love will always predominate and redeem the suffering of the cross.
As the three nails were driven home into the wood, fastening Him to it irrevocably, Christ gave Himself to all those men and women who in the years to come would nail themselves to His cross by the three vows of religion—poverty, chastity, and obedience; those wise ones who know the weakness of human nature, who know how easily the will can falter when the sweetness of the first consolation of prayer is over; how hard and bleak the winter of the spirit when its springtide and its summer and harvesting seem passed forever; how hard to go on faithfully clinging to the Christ-life with only one’s own weak will to drive one.
Christ, receiving the nails, gave Himself to those men and women who would nail themselves by binding vows to Himself upon the cross, who would have the ability to remain true to their chosen life because their hands and feet are put into His hands and feet, and they are held onto the cross by the nails that held Him.
He gave Himself in that moment to all those men and women who would pledge themselves to Him and to one another with the vows in matrimony, the three blessed nails of human love safeguarding husbands and wives from the assaults of temptation in every circumstance of the world, the vows to love, honor, and obey.
He gave Himself to all those converts who bind themselves to the laws of the Church and all those Catholics who persevere in the faith, nailed to it by their own baptismal vows, no matter what hardships it may involve them in; nailed to it willingly because they know well that without Christ they can do nothing, and that Christ in this world is inseparable from His cross.
And with what great tenderness, with what depths of understanding, Christ gave Himself in that hour on Calvary to all those whom He would indwell—religious, married people, ordinary Catholics, trying to adhere to Him, not through emotion, not through sentimentality, but by uniting their wills to His, and binding themselves irrevocably to Him. With what love He gave Himself to them, knowing how they too would be considered to be fools, would be mocked, and even looked upon with distrust and anxiety by their own people—by those who loved them.
He reached out in that moment to those who by entering religion would give scandal, as He
Himself was doing: “This night you will all be scandalized because of me!”
They would be derided as He was derided, He would be derided in them: “You are escapists!—”
“You are giving up the fight.”
“You are afraid of responsibility.”
“You are afraid of life.”
And this, despite the that in many countries of the world today, to openly vow yourself to religion is to put your head into the noose, to invite persecution!
Not only would the religious be thought to be fools, but those married men and women who were faithful and compelled themselves to be faithful to their three vows—whose love and whose fidelity to love is not that which the world of today can understand.
“What?” their mockers would say in the twenty-first century, “What? You are faithful to that man” (or that woman) “whom you are tired of, you deny this other man” (or woman) “whom you love passionately! How can you believe that a God who is love asks this of you?” Or to the man and wife who deny themselves to have children: “How can you be such fools?
Surely you do not think that a good God can wish you to have children who will be poor, who may even have to grow up to be laborers?” (as His own son did). “How can you bring children into the world to be poor, to live hard lives, perhaps to go to war?” (and to lay down their lives for their friends).
And to the seemingly insignificant faithful Catholic, who is neither a religious nor married but who clings to the faith, adheres to it firmly with a will that is grounded and rooted in the will of Christ: “What fools you must be, and how abject! How can you, in these days of enlightenment, of free thought, of new ideas, of new philosophies, accept dogma and doctrine? How can you allow your minds to be ruled by the Church?”
And even the sentimentalists who profess to love God and who love to be moved to feelings of tenderness and sweetness by sermons and the singing of hymns exclaim, scandalized, “How can you go to church because you must and not because you feel like it? How can you believe what you are told to believe and not what you feel to be true?"
To all these, Christ reached out across the years when He was nailed to the cross. He identified Himself with them; He accepted their limitations; He gave them His will. For them as well as for Himself, His prayer was uttered forever: “Father, not my will but your will be done.”
Excerpt From: Caryll Houselander. “Way of the Cross.”