The Colors of the Cross: Introduction

God’s Presence & Retreat Overview

Christians have been celebrating Lent — in some form or other — since the earliest days of the Church.

And this Lenten period of fasting and penance has always been somehow related to the holiest days in the liturgical cycle: The three-day Paschal celebration of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
And the center of that celebration is the Cross.
In carrying the cross, Jesus takes upon himself the sins of the world.
In obediently and lovingly dying on the cross, Jesus atones for those sins.
In rising again from the dead, Jesus makes the sign of the cross into the banner of his everlasting victory over evil.
The Cross was absolutely central to Christ’s life and mission. And so, it must be absolutely central to the life and mission of us Christians.
Why did God make the Cross so central to his Son’s life? Why did God make the Cross so central to our lives? And how can we carry our crosses as courageously and fruitfully as Jesus carried his?
Those are the questions that this Retreat Guide, The Colors of the Cross, will invite you to reflect on, to meditate on, and to pray about.
In the first meditation-starter, we will tackle the first question (Why did God make the Cross so central to our faith?), and we will seek an answer in the first color of the Cross: the earth-brown color of the wood itself.
In the second meditation-starter, we will tackle the second question (Why did God make the Cross so central to our lives?), and we will seek its answer in the second color of the Cross: the red color of Christ’s life-giving blood.
In the conference, we will look at the third color of the Cross — the simple skin-color of Christ’s complete humanity, which will help us get practical and explain the age-old Catholic exercise of uniting our own sufferings to Christ’s cross by “offering it up.”

Preparing for the Retreat

Before you dive in, take a few minutes to turn the eyes of your heart to God, to thank him for giving you this time to spend in quiet prayer, and to ask him for the graces you need, especially the grace to penetrate, a little more deeply, the glorious mystery of the saving Cross of Jesus Christ.

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