In front of us lies the dead Body of Christ, depicted on the Holy Shroud. Let us, too, weep over Him.
On the cross shone the sun of truth, the sun of love, that dazzled the entire world with its light, with the light of Divine compassion. This sun ignited the hearts of millions of people who loved Jesus Christ with their whole soul, in whose hearts the following words were engraved in flaming letters: “Whosoever wishes to follow Me, let Him reject himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me!” The Lord was the first to take up the cross, the most terrible cross, and after Him a multitude of martyrs for Christ took up their own crosses, smaller in size, but often just as fearful. And after them great multitudes of people also took up their crosses and, quietly bowing down their heads, went with them on that far journey.
On that far and thorny path indicated by Christ – the path to the throne of God, the path into the Heavenly Realm – they are walking, and walking, and walking for almost 2,000 years already, multitudes and multitudes of people are following Christ.
There is a whole procession of those who have rejected all material goods, who have disdained the world for the sake of Jesus Christ, who have left everything that was precious to them and have dedicated their entire life to serving Him.
There is a procession of the fools-for-Christ, weighed down with the burden of their spiritual labors and iron crosses; there is an endless procession of monks and nuns; there is a procession of hierarchs with crosses and the Holy Chalice in their hands.
After them come multitudes of meek and righteous people – those who are subservient to the path of Christ. The procession is endless…
There are multitudes of common people who love Christ, who are the fulfillment of His words: “Ye shall be sorrowful in the world.” They are walking along, carrying the heavy cross of their sorrows. There is a long procession of those who were banished for truth, banished for the sake of Christ.
Will we not join this endless procession that is moving along the holy path of sorrows, the path of suffering? Will we not take up our crosses and follow Christ?
We must! May our hearts shudder at the sight of Christ’s lifeless body lying before us. May the Lord Christ, Who has suffered so terribly for our sake, fill our hearts with His immeasurable grace. And at the end of our long and difficult way of the cross may He grant us the comprehension of His words: “Fear not, for I have conquered the world!” Amen.