ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Convergence of the Mysteries and the ‘School of Love’

Updated on August 8, 2020

”It is not the finest wood that feeds the fire of divine love, but the wood of the Cross.” ~ Saint Ignatius of Loyola

First Friday brings with it the celebration of the great Saint Pope Sixtus II who, along with his Companions, was ambushed and subsequently beheaded while presiding over the Eucharist in a cavernous underground catacomb in the year 258. His papal reign fell 25 days short of a year, an otherwise alarming fact until one is presented with this very sobering statistic: every Pope up to and including Saint Sixtus II was martyred. This reality only serves to underscore Jesus’ message to his disciples in today’s Gospel (Matthew 16:24-28).

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,” Jesus explains. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.“ He then gives those on hand a lesson in perspective, a perspective offered against the backdrop of eternity and rooted in judgement, the topic we focused on yesterday

“What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?“ Jesus asks, going on to remind his disciples that “the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay each according to his conduct.“

Back in my gambling days, which seem so long ago, I always had my eyes peeled for the underdog, the “barking ‘dogs” as I used to call them. And although many of them had bark, far too few of them, when the game clock read 00:00, proved to have much bite. One of the perks of betting underdogs however was the possibility of achieving what gamblers like to call a “backdoor cover.”

Let’s say for instance that the Cincinnati Bengals are a 13 point underdog to the Baltimore Ravens. Let’s also assume that the game goes, for the most part, according to script. With about 3 minutes left in the game, the Ravens lead the Bengals by a score of 31-13, a blowout by any definition of the word (...except for the one used at women’s hair salons). The Ravens, with the game in the proverbial bag, begin to pull their starting players because they have a huge match-up the following week with their arch-rival the Pittsburgh Steelers and do not want to risk injuries to any of their key players.

The Bengals in the meantime are looking for what I used to call the “L’Oreal Touchdown,” named as such because it’s purpose is merely cosmetic; to make the final score a little less uglier and the game appear to have been far closer than it really was. So as the Ravens starters are on the sidelines hamming it up for the cameras, nailing down the post-game party location and putting the finishing touches on what will be their self-aggrandizing post-game Tweets, Cincinnati is quietly proceeding down the field against the Ravens’ newly employed “matador defense,” charging through them like an ambulance through pudding. The Bengals ultimately score a meaningless touchdown with less then a minute to play, which to those of you who do not know counts for 7 points, thus giving Bengal bettors an improbable and rather undeserved point spread winner. Through the backdoor as the expression goes.

But as we learn today, there is no backdoor play into Heaven; No Cross, no Crown. This is a tough pill to swallow for many. In light of the recent Hollywood College Admission Scandal, I’m quite sure there are some deep-pocketed actors and actresses who would gladly pay someone to lug their cross for them, making the huge assumption of course that the Hollywood elite even consider such things as judgement, Heaven, or hell. After all, if one would risk prison merely to get one’s child into a high-profile college, what would he or she pony up for a repercussion-free life, lived in the palatial and isolated lap of luxury, only to culminate in an effortless jaunt through the gates of Heavenly Paradise? As stayed earlier, we are for the most part highly adverse to suffering. Yet the harsh reality of the matter remains: we must endure suffer and embrace the crosses that God gives us.

Saint Paul of the Cross once said “the more deeply the cross penetrates, the better. The more deprived of consolation that your suffering is, the purer it will be; the more creatures oppose us, the more closely shall we be united to God.” “Oh cherished cross!,” he would go on to say. “Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!”

Is it any wonder how this guy earned his nickname?

Today, very much like yesterday when we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration on a day in which those who are devoted to the Daily Rosary prayed over the Luminous Mysteries (of which the Transfiguration is one), we reflect upon the Cross on this the day that Rosarians contemplate the Sorrowful Mysteries. As the title of my essay suggests, the mysteries of our faith, collide and converge. If that weren’t enough, the picture I chose for today’s reflection was one that I took on my way out of Mass this morning. Sure, there are times when God seems distant and indiscernible, But there are times too when he speaks ~ loudly ~ revealing Himself in profound fashion.

Reflecting upon these mysteries is an excellent way to align one’s self with and subsequently embrace Jesus’ sufferings on the Cross. It is impossible, for instance, to emerge from a trip through the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary without cultivating a deeper love for Jesus; Mary too. Tomorrow we will celebrate the Memorial of Saint Dominic, a prolific proponent of the Rosary. It was Saint Dominic who famously said “one day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”

Eucharistic Adoration is another great source of grace that is readily available to us. As Father John Riccardo likes to say “we cannot run this race without spending time with the Master.”

“The Cross is the school of love” said Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a man who was no stranger to devastating hardship, suffering, and ultimately, a martyr’s death. May we grow in the spiritual gifts of fortitude, understanding and self control so that we too can gracefully accept our Crosses with complete and total confidence in God’s will and love for us, a love that desires far more than mere Earthly trappings. It is a love that desires perfect and eternal Heavenly Glory.

Saint Pope Sixtus II and Companions, pray for us.

Saint Pope Sixtus II


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)