Margaret O’Hara shares her reflections after participating in the event for wives on April 13, 2019 presented by Sister Maria Pascuzzi.  Margaret is a member of our advisory committee.

Cardinal Tobin has written that Easter is a time of renewal, in which darkness is dispelled by light, and death yields to new life.  Now that we have celebrated the joyous feast of Easter, I cannot help by think back to the Lenten reflections shared by Sister Maria Pascuzzi on April 13th with about 40 women who are married to men at varying stages of diaconal life, from aspirancy to many years post-ordination.  Sister’s focus was on a selection from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, in which he wrote that “we proclaim Christ crucified.” This was a tough concept for the Jewish and Greek people of Corinth, but it can be a stumbling block for me, for us, in 2019.  As noted in the book of Deuteronomy, “cursed is he who hangs in a tree.”

Paul preached that Christ crucified is THE way to understand God’s power and wisdom: the Cross is a window through which we look to gaze upon the God who loves us, the God who subverts human values.  What are my next steps as I dwell upon this God who wields power through love not might?  As Sister Maria noted, Christian spirituality begins with an encounter with Jesus Christ, and as a result of that encounter, I want to strive to imitate Christ, see as Christ saw and to act as Christ acted. It seems so daunting because, to use Sister’s description, “a cruciform-shaped person” is immersed in society without conforming to societal values.  What are some Christlike behaviors that I can try to emulate each day?

I can try to really see others, and be concerned about THEIR concerns.  Despite my all-too-human instincts, each day is not “all about me!”  I can try to forgive without establishing prerequisites that the other person must meet before I forgive.  The “other” in each of these instances can be as close as a family member.  Both walking in another person’s shoes and also forgiving another person are REALLY HARD to do.

I can try to overcome a culture of exclusion within my own sphere. Sister reminded us that Jesus was, and is, FOR people for whom there is nothing but the world at its worst. In my neighborhood, there are Jews, Muslims, Christians and agnostics; Asian, black and white; gay and straight. I have opportunities every day not to exclude, discriminate and/or judge.

To paraphrase Sister Maria, cruciform living is a path that I can choose freely to re-tell the story of what God has done through Christ, but I am not without resources if I so choose.  Through prayer, I can develop confidence that the Holy Spirit will direct me, and infuse my life with the values the world does not appreciate. At the Easter Vigil, as the Paschal Candle is brought into the sanctuary, “behold the light of Christ” is announced three times, and the darkened church is illuminated gradually as the light is passed from one person to the next.  Eventually, the whole church is alight with a multitude of small candle flames which represent our belief in the Resurrection, and in our Christian faith, which should be a light to the world.  May the Risen Christ re-awaken our spirits to live as cruciform-shaped people!


How might you have been re-awakened by the Risen Christ this Easter?  What are some ways you might live as “cruciform-shaped” people?  Share your thoughts and reflections by posting a comment.


2 Thoughts on “Living as Cruciform-Shaped People (Guest blog writer Margaret O’Hara)”

  • Cruciform Spirituality, which Sr. Maria spoke so eloquentky and realistically about, gave me much “food for thought.” My favorite take-away is to look at the cross, not at face value…but as a window into the power and wisdom of God. This concept stayed with me throughout Holy Week and on Easter Sunday I could so clearly see and experience the Risen Lord!
    Personally, it made me wonder, What or who do people see when they look at me? A cancer survivor, bruised and beaten?..or a strong warrior with battle scars which prove that nothing is impossible with God!
    And what would make the difference in what they see? And then I ask myself, how do I look at others? Those who appear ok on the outside, just might be struggling on the inside. On the other hand, those who look beaten, weak and weary on the outside, may indeed possess a strength that goes beyond human recognition. For me, this is where Faith enters the picture…where humanity meets divinity and the presence of God cannot be denied. This is where Christ can be seen in the hearts of those who unite themselves with the cross of Jesus. Everyone’s cross is different, but the essence of the wood is the same. Their burdens, whether physical, emotional or spiritual…can only be carried with the cross of redeeming grace. When we realize that our Lord and Savior came into this world to personally redeem each one of us, to forgive us and to unite Himself with our own struggles…new life in Him is not only possible, it is what helps us thrive…not just survive.

  • Dear Margaret,
    Thank you for sharing this lovely reflection, a reminder that we don’t have to go far to practice our Christian values in our daily life. Acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness and love begins at home, work, and our communities. Easier said than done, but the Holy Spirit helps us by inspiring our words and actions, if we ask. As the song goes, “they will know we are Christians by our love.”

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