Well, today is Holy Cross Day. And once again I was struck by Sam Portaro’s reflections. He recounts a story (from Bishop William Wiedrich) about a conductor, directing a large group of percussionists raising his arms to cue the timpanists. In the resulting din, he raised his arms again to silence them. He then told them, “The music is in the drum, not the mallet. One does not beat the music into the drum; one gently lets the mallet rise off the skin, as if the mallet were pulling sound from the kettle.”
He then continues:
The cross is like the music of the timpani; it is not something one puts on, but rather something that is coaxed out of us. The wearing of the cross is not an accessory to life, but rather is the embrace of life itself. …Christians bear the cross within, in the daily embrace of all that it means to be human. To be a Christian [is] to have the fullness of life coaxed out of oneself.
This gives a rather different feel to Sunday’s gospel inviting us to take up our crosses.