Part 4: Get down off your cross!

blurry to clear cross

There’s lots of talk about resurrection this time of year, from the good news of the Easter story to what we witness outdoors in every new flower. But what does it really mean to us, in a practical way? The Catholic Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery collaborated on this 10-part answer to the question of How to Practice Resurrection Every Day. We will publish it in installments over the next couple of weeks!

As long as we’re alive, choosing resurrection is always worth the risk. – Parker Palmer

Rev. Debra Jarvis, a hospital chaplain and writer, had been listening to a patient retell her story of diagnosis and treatment for cancer.

Jarvis had heard it all before. Despite getting a clean bill of health during her one-year follow-up exam, the patient was sharing how she had suffered and struggled all year, finally concluding, “I felt crucified.”

Jarvis gave her a tissue, a hug and then said, “Get down off your cross.”

Jarvis’ advice, shared in the October 2016 issue of Reader’s Digest, may seem almost callous.

But Sister Sheila McGrath, OSB says it’s absolutely right. After all, Jesus’ Resurrection didn’t happen until he was off the cross.

“Clinging to our old story feeds our wounds,” she says. “We need to get off our cross to let the resurrection begin. If we don’t, we stay stuck where we are, feeding the dying.”

Jarvis shares that her patient did begin the work of resurrection, eventually creating a new story that wasn’t consumed by her survivor identity.

“We have to avoid staying trapped in our wounds,” Sr. Sheila says.

“We need to let go of our old story to rise. We need to let ourselves be healed and reborn, stronger, wiser, more patient. More compassionate.”

Getting down off our cross means we open the door to resurrection. We say yes.

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