This is a big deal in my world because it’s the feast day for my parish.
So, because it’s my job to find cool stuff to share (I like that part of my work), I went looking for cool quotes on the Feast of the Holy Cross.
Here’s an amazing post I found by Fr. Barron about the Triumph of the Cross.
The Cross: Cosmic child abuse?
In this post Fr. Barron writes:
“There is a terrible interpretation of the cross that has, unfortunately, infected the minds of many Christians. This is the view that the bloody sacrifice of the Son on the cross was “satisfying” to the Father, and appeasement of a God infinitely angry at sinful humanity. In this reading, the crucified Jesus is like a child hurled into the fiery mouth of a pagan divinity in order to assuage its wrath. It is no wonder that many, formed by this cruel theology, find the Christian doctrine of the cross hard to accept: I once heard the objection that this sacrifice of the Son to the Father constitutes an act of cosmic child abuse.”
Double Imputation: Just say no!
The theory of atonement, exactly how Jesus effects our salvation, is kind of complicated in Catholic theology. As Fr. Barron points out in the video, the Church doesn’t point solely to one theory or model that is correct.
However, one thing that is NOT correct is this idea of “punishing substitution” Fr. Barron condemns in the quote above. This is the accepted theory in many Protestant churches. I run across people with this viewpoint all the time in RCIA.
What it says is that, on the Cross, a kind of substitution that takes place. God the Father inputs Christ’s righteousness onto us and our sinfulness onto his Son. This is also called Double Imputation.
In a kind of divine schizophrenia, the Father no longer sees his Son on the Cross. Instead, he sees our horrible, ugly sin and throws all of his anger and wrath at Christ.
The Father also no longer sees us as sinful. The status that belonged to Christ now belongs to us. So we’re saved.
With that situation in mind, you have to wonder how great it really is to be God’s son. I mean, with a Father like that, who needs enemies?
The Cross is a Trinitarian event
The truth is the Father never loved the Son more than when he’s on the Cross. We have to see the Cross as a Trinitarian event!
Within the Trinity, the Son is continually pouring out his life in gift to the Father. The Father continually receives that gift and returns it with a gift of his own self. This divine exchange is the inner life of the Trinitarian Persons.
What Christ does on the Cross at a specific time in human history is the same thing he’s done for all eternity as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity–he pours himself out in total self-giving love to the Father.
God is not some dysfunctional father that demands blood for a wrong done to him. He doesn’t hate the Son on the Cross. He hates sin!
The Father sent the Son into the darkest depths of human suffering out of love. Christ brings light into those places and makes all things new.
The Cross is not a murder but a self-offering. It’s not of punishment but an act of love.
United with Christ, we’re called to imitate this act of love in gift to the Father. The problem for all of us is, giving everything hurts! We need to be united with Christ to make it work.