Jesus dies on the cross
The call to us at a time when great pieces of the future crumble in life is not so much to faith as it is to hope.
Hope does not tell us that soon life will be the same again as it was before the loss. No, hope tells us that life will go on, differently, yes, but go on nevertheless. Hope tells us that the pieces are there for us to put together, if only we will give ourselves to the doing of it. When Jesus dies on the cross, something entirely different rises. And that something is the call to us to make the best in life live again.
The twelfth station of the cross brings us face to face with the finality of defeat. Sometimes things don’t have a happy ending in life. They just grind on until loss becomes the new normal.
Sometimes we fail. There are things we are not suited to do, however much we want to do them. Then, valor lies in simply being willing to begin again, somewhere else.
Sometimes we’re beaten. Others are more talented, perhaps, or better prepared, or hungrier in their pursuit of the present grail than we are any longer able to be.
Sometimes we’re lost. Sometimes we’re humiliated. Sometimes we’re misunderstood.
Sometimes we are abandoned by the very people we love most in life and whom we thought also loved us. At that point, without doubt, something in us dies.
Then we learn that there’s no going back to things that once were but are no more. The old breath goes out of us and all we can do is to surrender to the dark. It is not a pretty moment. It can take all the energy we have.
The question with which the twelfth station confronts us is an awesome one: Am I able to accept the daily deaths of life, both the great ones and the small, knowing that death is not the end of life, only its passing over to something new in me? Hopefully, I learn from the Jesus who gave up himself, his mission, his life in ways that all seemed totally wrong, that the deaths I died may bring new life to the world around me, as well.
—from The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life by Joan Chittister, artwork by Janet McKenzie (Orbis)