The end of the seventh chapter of the Letter to the Romans contains an exclamation in which Saint Paul gives voice to a deep pain that permeates his entire existence: “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24). At first glance, it seems that the apostle is making a very severe judgment about his own body, as if he almost preferred to do away with it so as to live serenely the spiritual life. But this is not so.
In Jesus, God has experienced failure several times. Jerusalem has not corresponded to his love: “How often have I tried to bring together your children as a bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused” (Lk 13:34). In Nazareth he could not perform any miracle (Mk 6:5-6); the rich young man responds with a refusal (Mt 19:16-22).
The cross is the symbol of which Christians show their faith. Yet, for three centuries, they intentionally did not use the cross as a symbol of their faith. They were recognized in other symbols—the anchor, the fish, the loaves, the dove, the shepherd—but they were reluctant to depict the cross.
In their ancient rituals the Amazonian natives seek a harmonious connection with Mother Earth – Pacha Mama – and her spiritual world. For them, there are spirits in the forest who can be allies or opponents, who can help or hinder, heal or cause disease, who must be appeased or instigated.
Jesus says that if we follow him, the cross, pain, will find us.That message is chronically misunderstood. Maybe we would understand it better if Jesus had worded it this way: The more sensitive you become, the more pain will seep into your life. We catch the connection then. Sensitive person suffer more deeply, just as they also drink in more deeply the joys and beauties of life.