Look To The Cross

"Look to the Cross" by Claire McGarry (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Claire McGarry. All rights reserved.

The women in my MOSAIC of Faith network, and the parishioners of my church, just built a Prayer Path in the woods behind our parish center. The path is laid out in a labyrinth pattern, with only one way in and one way out. With no dead ends, there is no way to lose your way.
It is a walking prayer. The idea is to review all of your problems and related emotions as you journey in, sharing them all with God. At the center, you stop and stay as long as it takes to hand all those problems and emotions over to God. Once you’ve put it all in His hands, you retrace your same exact steps out, but you do so with a lightness of being, renewed hope, and joy.
Although labyrinths have been around in the Catholic Church since the twelfth century, there was some concern at my parish that it would be perceived as a pagan ritual. To dispel those concerns, a volunteer built a beautiful cross that was installed as the focal point of the space. Now, before entering our Prayer Path, and when we arrive at its center, we raise our eyes to the cross and meditate on it. Doing so roots us in Christ.
"Look to the Cross" by Claire McGarry (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Claire McGarry. All rights reserved.

In Numbers 21:5-9, as the Israelites journeyed through the dessert, they lost hope and felt abandoned. They began to complain about God; and they turned away from Him. Yet when the seraph serpents appeared and bit them, they immediately wanted God to save them. In all His goodness, God told Moses to make a bronze seraph and put it on a pole. Anyone who was bitten and looked at it, would recover.
Generations and generations before that, Adam and Eve fell victim to a different serpent. His cunning tongue bit into their egos, causing them to disobey God. It was at that very second that their life of innocence died, and original sin was born. They weren’t fortunate enough to have something raised up on a pole that would help them recover.
Thousands of years later, again in all His goodness, God did lift up something that would help us recover from that bite of sin. This time, it wasn’t a bronze serpent on a pole; it was His very own Son on a cross. Like the bronze serpent healed the Israelites, the crucified Christ redeemed us all.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. -John 3:14-15
I know I’m guilty of looking right past things that have been there for a while: a reminder note placed too early, photos of loved ones framed for years, even the multiple crucifixes hanging on my walls. But being part of the crew that installed the cross in our Prayer Path woke me up again to the power of the cross.
Like the Israelites, we can lose patience and hope when our problems last too long. Some of us forget to raise our eyes and look to the cross as a reminder that God never abandons us.
He is always with us, through thick and thin. He doesn’t want us to carry our burdens alone, and pretend we can control them. Instead, He wants us to put them all where they belong: at the foot of the cross, the place where we will always be redeemed, and healed.
For more information about Prayer Paths, visit www.shiftingmyperspective.com and click on the Prayer Path tab.

Copyright 2017 Claire McGarry


About Author

Claire McGarry is the author of the Lenten devotional "With Our Savior," published by Creative Communications for the Family/Bayard, Inc. and All is Blessing: Finding God in the Tensions of Life, to be published by Our Sunday Visitor in the fall of 2021. Her freelance work has appeared in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Focus on the Family magazine, Catechist magazine, These Days devotional, and Keys for Kids devotional. The founder of MOSAIC of Faith, a ministry with several different programs for mothers and children, she blogs at Shifting My Perspective.


  1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Laura! Walking the Prayer Path is pretty powerful stuff. I’ve walked a few different ones, but none can compare to ours with our cross as the focal point. There’s no better reminder of Who is in charge, and Who brings us real comfort and peace.

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