In fact, we normally live our everyday lives with our interests, cares, anxieties, and disgruntlement; we are now joyful, now sorrowful, now irritated, now having fun and not thinking at all about our Christian purpose. But just imagine that some catastrophe has crashed over us, some sorrow has stricken us, especially the death of some one near and dear to us—a father or a mother. Isn’t it true that our mood quickly changes? We grieve, we despond, and mainly, we begin to believe more deeply. Everything that interested us a minute ago seems now empty and insignificant in the face of death.
In just the same way, beloved brothers, does the Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross influence us: It reminds us of the death of Christ the Savior, which He took upon Himself for the safe of our sins; it vividly reminds us of the strength our Savior gives us for the struggle with sin… This strength is the cross! The Cross is a symbol of self-crucifixion! Thus we see that the cross became a symbol of the Christian not because Christ was crucified on it, but because when we look upon the cross, we should remember that we also must suffer in life, and then die. In fact, all the Sacraments and rites remind us of this. What is the Sacrament of Baptism? Death to sin. The Sacraments of confession and Communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries are our communion of the suffering life of Christ the Savior. The cross on the church, on our chests—all this should remind the Christian of his struggle with sin.
We notice a division in our souls, for sin lives in them; it is as if two people are living in us. One is good, he loves what is good; he is ready to receive the whole world into himself, he humbles himself, endures, loves his enemies… While the other loves the flesh, he is vainglorious, envious, lustful… And our whole life goes on in the struggle between these two people; that is, in the struggle between good and evil. In this struggle to conquer evil is the entire Christian goal of our lives.