The Cross Properly Understood

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Christ offers grace that redeems the broken vessel of our nature.  Access to that grace comes by way of the cross, properly understood.

By Rev. Emmerich Vogt, O.P., Catholic Education Resource Center

vogteYears ago an elderly woman came to see me.  She was married to a miser who, when they were first married, made it known that it was “his” money.  And so over the years she was careful about spending his money.  Her girlfriends took pity on her and bought her a new dress; after all, this was her cross, they thought.

However, Christ’s cross gives life.  What she was really doing was running away from the cross, and indulging her weak and fallen nature.

Her true cross would be to sit down with the miser and make it known, in a reasonable, responsible, and loving way, that since it was his house, his food, and his money, he could clean it, cook it, and bank it because she had needs of her own and would be finding a way to support herself.

That’s a denial of self that leads to life.  The cross properly understood brings life out of death; in her case, death to the fear of her husband, death to her weakness.  As a result, she would love herself more and love her husband properly, for love does not enable bad behavior.  The cross gives life.



Father Emmerich Vogt, O.P. “The cross properly understood.” from a talk.

Reprinted with permission from Father Emmerich Vogt, O.P.

The Author

vogt3vogt4Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P. is a Dominican priest of the Western Dominican Province.  He is currently on the Preaching band. Educated by the Dominican Order at its seminary in California, Fr. Emmerich went on to receive a MA degree in Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a graduate degree in Near Eastern Religions from University of California. He is the author of The Freedom to Love: Recovery and the Seven Deadly SinsThe Spirituality of the Twelve StepsEucharistic Principles of the Spiritual Lifeand others. Visit his website

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