Sometimes I read a book that has come with such numerous and lofty recommendations that really it can only be disappointing. Having heard so much about how the book will change my life and cause my faith to grow in leaps and bounds, I have often found the reality to be disappointing. Conversely, sometimes a book comes unhyped and unheralded and takes my heart and mind by storm. Such is the case with The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy.
Truthfully, I do not remember where I first heard of this book. I was surprised one day to see it turn up in the mail and I soon realized that at one point I had added it to my Amazon wishlist. I knew nothing about it other than what the cover told me: “Meditations on the sufferings of the Redeemer.” Edward Donnelly writes in the foreward that this book has three virtues: it provides solid instruction; gives full play to a disciplined and sanctified imagination; and it recalls the neglected art of meditation. He says further that “in rereading these chapters, I found myself more than once compelled by emotion to stop – and then to worship. I cannot help feeling that this is exactly how they were written and that the author’s chief desire is that each of us who reads should be brought to gaze in fresh understanding and gratitude upon ‘the Son of God,’ who loved me and give himself for me.” As with Donnelly, I was often compelled to stop and worship, to stop and meditate, or to stop and dry my eyes, thanking Christ for His immeasurable sacrifice.
The book is comprised of thirteen chapters, each of which is a short meditation or reflection on a different aspect of Christ’s sacrifice, from the close of the Last Supper to the blotting of the sun from the sky while He hung on the cross. It truly strikes to the very heart of the Gospel.
But I hesitate to say more. Perhaps part of the beauty and significance of this book, was that it came unannounced. There was no lofty position for it to attain to. And perhaps it is best that way. And so I will leave it with merely my wholehearted recommendation and the knowledge that I will return to it often. This short book is an invaluable treasure and I am certain that the reflections it contains will stay with me and come to heart and mind whenever I meditate upon the cross of Christ.