Last week I posted a picture from the Way of the Cross celebrated by Chicago's CL community on Good Friday. A fellow Chicagoan and blogger commented that he wished I had posted some thoughts and reflections on the events of that day as well.
Well, ask and you shall receive! (To the right and left in this post you can see some thumbnails of more pictures from that day.)
The desire to make the Way of the Cross in such a public way was to testify to the fact of Christ's victory for the entire world. To walk the way of our Lord in the midst of the city, with all its noise and distractions. As our program for the event described, "it is the very noise and confusion of our city, where we spend our days. We will need to desire great attention in order to follow Jesus and to fix our gaze on the event of His passion. It is that very same attention that is needed to look at the events of His presence among us every day."
I was struck by many things that day, but three stand out the most. First, not uncommon for Chicago and fitting for the day, the weather was dreadfully gloomy and cold. But the rain and snow did not deter people from going. In fact, it seemed as though most didn't even give it a second thought. So strongly did they wish to follow the path of the Lord that weather wasn't going to stand in their way.
Second I was struck by the boldness of the gesture. The path selected wasn't in some out of the way corner of Chicago, but instead the heart of the city. Starting in Millennium Park, we proceeded straight up Michigan Avenue and then to Holy Name Cathedral. In the midst of people going to and from work, police cars and ambulances making their way to places of need, and the noise of the street traffic, there was the Cross. In between the sound of the CTA buses announcing their stops and routes could be heard from a small speaker the sound of the Gospel of St. Matthew and reflections on abiding in Christ's presence.
But I think I was most touched by the fact that non-Catholics joined us. For example, I shared the news of the event and a flyer for it with a Protestant couple that are friends of mine. I invited them to attend, but truthfully wasn't sure if they would be interested as the husband has a bad back and I knew that all the walking would be tough on him. Nevertheless, I thought they would like to know of the event. To my surprise they wanted to come. The rain in the morning did not deter them for a moment. Two thirds of the way through they had to leave because his back was becoming aggravated by the walking. That witness is so powerful to me. For while the rest of us were suffering trivially because of the weather, here my friend was in true pain. Yet he desired to unite himself with Christ, to carry his cross along behind Christ and give witness to the extraordinary fact of who Jesus is.