The Pains, the Cross and the Four Rings

Pain has been life’s greatest motivator.  We learn when it strikes; we grow better as we strive to fight.

This has been the gist of the homily taken from the Gospel yesterday when I heard Mass.  Part of life is pain and nobody could escape from the fangs of it. Created imperfect, we are entitled to surpass whatever obstacles put in front our paths.  And to this we shall always be true to ourselves and deal with it boldly and in accordance to the doctrines of the Church.

Let me share with you a funny thought the priest has cracked yesterday:

Do you have fiancé or a partner in life at this point of your life? Well, if you do, do you also know the four rings that are given upon entering life’s various stages towards becoming one with each other?

ImageFor lovers and soon-to-be-blessed ones, this known ring a man first gives to his fiancé is the one which often comes in various surprise packages. Traditionally, one hands it over to the one he loves and put it onto her finger while kneeling down. As ages evolve, it can already be seen upon munching on some cupcakes, piloting a remote-controlled helicopter with it hanging from its wings, or holding a party letting the whole world know that you are fated to be tied sooner or later. It’s the engagement ring that goes in a lot of these planned proposals. Symbolizing the knot that would bind you together, it stands essential especially to realize that she has already accepted you to be her ‘The One’. Conventionally, the woman’s ring is presented as a betrothal gift by a man to his prospective spouse while he proposes marriage or directly after she accepts his marriage proposal. It represents a formal agreement to future marriage.

ImageChurch bells ring and the heavens’ gates open when this next ring, which I guess everybody knows, are given as vows of love by the bride and the groom. Wikepedia defines wedding ring or wedding band as a metal ring indicating that the wearer is married. Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. The custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond its origin in Europe. Historically, the wedding ring was rather connected to the exchange of valuables at the moment of the wedding. It is a relic of the times when marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers. But after all, eternal love and devotion reflect the deeper meaning of having this ring worn in one’s finger.

Wedding’s done, and what do you think is the next ring?

ImageThe priest has stimulated our minds during this query. Until then we realized that indeed the third ring is the one which serves as one of the important elements to a responsible family life- suffering. In connection with the homily’s theme, it stands true that this ring is a living testament on how strong couples hold on especially during difficult times and tragedy. Suffering is painful, but without the fourth ring, you couldn’t move on and bring back that peaceful life you dream for the family. Flowering or helping each one understand and recognize his/her follies shall help this process of getting up from the muddy stream of sufferings. Both comes hand in hand to make the love grow fonder and blossom towards reaching its fullest beauty.

These four rings just then remind us of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (Triumph of the Cross) last September 14 which many tend to forget.  It is one of the twelve great feasts in the yearly Church cycle commemorating two historical events: first, the finding of the Life-giving Cross in the year 326, and second, its recovery from Persia in 628.

ImageMore than what history tells, this takes us back to what Jesus has done for us. He, who supposed to be God, accepted the mockery thrown by the people centuries past. He, who supposed to be God, let Himself endure the painful scourge and thorns crowned to Him. He, who supposed to be God, offered His very self to be crucified and died for our sins which He never deserves at all. Pain is thus inescapable. No one is exempted to experience suffering as it is also the one imperative in honing us to be like Jesus’ disciples.

Band aids. Antispetics. Anesthesias. No pain killers shall excuse you in feeling the wound. Yes, pain hurts, pain impinges, but it can heal every sin Man has ever committed.

Click here to read the whole Gospel during this day (September 16, 2012):


2 thoughts on “The Pains, the Cross and the Four Rings”

  1. Lovely post, wonderful insights and reminders. And I enjoyed the play on words in the priest’s homily about the four “rings.” Very clever, very true. Wishing you all the best. : )

    1. Thanks for commending my post mark! Sometimes with all the bustles we are into today, what we need is to spare time to reflect even to the simplest words we hear and say everyday. Godspeed.

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