Ave Crux Spes Unica – Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope. This is the motto of the Congregation of Holy Cross (the order that runs the University of Notre Dame) and the words come from the ancient hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt, traditionally sung on Good Friday.
Today on Good Friday, we reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ and the cross that he bore for all of us. Jesus did not avoid pain and death, but fully entered into it. We know that Christ’s cross leads to Easter Sunday and the resurrection, but we don’t skip right to that. We “Hail the Cross” and the fact that Jesus enters into our own pain, sorrow and even death.
With this motto “Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope”, we can also approach climate change – a source of suffering and despair caused by our own darkness. It is not by glossing over the pain of our environmental degradation or ignoring “the cry of the earth” that we will find our way forward. Instead, we invite Christ to transform ourselves and our suffering planet and find hope in the redemption the Cross.