Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Wondrous Cross Still Beckons the Faithful from Mount Calvary’s Ashes

Update about the Episcopal Monestary in southern California that burned in the wild fire last November.

But it wasn’t just the Brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross who lost their home. For many of the faithful in the Santa Barbara community and throughout the world, Mount Calvary was a spiritual home, a place to take refuge from the bustle of the day-to-day grind, or to work out life’s problems, or to simply meditate in silence, the quiet broken only by the breeze or by the piercing cries of hawks soaring high above. When news of the monastery’s destruction spread, there was an outpouring of sympathy for the brothers and grief over the devastation.

But not everything is lost.
Amid the ashes and the rubble, one icon of Mount Calvary remains standing, a silent symbol of salvation and triumph: the wrought-iron cross that was erected in 1949, shortly after the monastery was established.

Looking worse for wear from the firestorm that consumed everything around it, the cross nevertheless continues to tower over the burned-out courtyard. Its bronze ornamentation is tarnished, maybe even melted, but the flames of the Tea Fire were not strong enough to undo the delicate lacework of the body of the cross. Surrounded by charred, collapsed walls and burned-out debris, the cross still commands a reverence, perhaps even more so for having survived one of the most devastating wildfires in recent history.

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