The Cross of Christ reveals isolation = DOOR to Communion.
Our Church asks us to take up this same Cross, as imitation & participation in the self-sacrificing life of Christ. Our fathers instruct us to stay home, not because we should be afraid of martyrdom, wisely counseling us in this way to protect us from false bravado & recklessness lest we, harm ourselves or others. We are called to experience in some small way what Christ went through “suffering outside the camp”, outside the Temple, outside the holy city of Jerusalem – in isolation.
He entered an inconceivable quarantine. His “social distancing” was so complete that He even experienced divine “abandonment”, crying out from the Cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”. The sinless One became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:20) & the One who said, “I & My Father are One” (John 10:30) experienced “separation” from His Father.
St. Paul tells us, “Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore” (Hebrews 13:13). Here the Apostle links suffering with disgrace, yoking union with Christ together with being an outsider. In this time of pandemic, God who is always providing opportunities for us to more fully experience the life of Christ, allowing us in this Great Lent, to participate in a very deep way in the foolish wisdom & salvific power of the Cross.
St. John of the Ladder tells us “Obedience is the tomb of the will & the resurrection of humility.” Now we know that obedience is only possible when we have to do/give up something that we don’t want to do. We can feel very isolated, but we are encouraged remembering that the Cross of Christ reveals isolation as the DOOR to communion. In obedience even unto death, we find the life that can never be put to death. Amidst our distress & anguish, we find the “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3),
For Christ Himself said to us His disciples in their time of tribulation: “I will see you again & your hearts will rejoice, & no one will take away your joy!” John 16:22.
"I heard the birds singing today,
And I thought about our dismay.
They are totally free from worry,
untouched by the virus, the chaos, and the hurry.
When once again we become free,
And step off of our porches, how will things be?
Will it feel like a long-forgotten dream
when we enter our churches?
How will it feel when we stand next to others
And sing the old verses?
Will we sing with the bliss of the birds?
Or will we just repeat words?
May we become like the birds,
Who everyday awake joyfully without reserve."
Sources: Father John Parsells; Daniel Hanna-Poem