This is where I sit during church. Ever since my son was a few months old, I've sat at the foot of the Cross during every vespers and liturgy. And it's been hard.

Part of the difficulty is being a mom with a baby. Part of it is due to the fact that our actual church has been under construction for almost two years, and the annex building we are stuffed into is starting to make everyone antsy.

But the main problem lies in me. My mind often wanders during church, as I'm sure it does for so many others. I worry about my son, and whether or not he will rest. I think about what I need to get done after liturgy. I find myself lost in thought, only to be brought back by either the homily or communion. 

That's not a good way to go through church. In fact, it's a waste of time. Why stand in the throne room of God if you're just going to think about the world outside of it? I can do that at home in my pajamas. 

That's why standing at the foot of the Cross is hard. I can hardly gaze upon the nails in Christ's feet, let alone cast my eyes up to His solemn face. I feel unworthy.

We've welcomed new catechumens into the church over the past few months, all from different backgrounds, and I often wonder what they think about the Cross. Are they used to simpler crosses? Does it shock them? Would they think it gruesome?

These are questions I would pose to other people, but how do I view the Cross myself? Why do I find it so hard to stand beside it? What do I feel when I look at it? What do the nails, the blood, the tears mean to me?

The crucified Christ is a beautiful representation of love. Everyone knows that love is patient, kind and not boastful. But it is so much more than that. 

Love is rarely beautiful.

It is struggle and it is sacrifice. 

Love is not chocolates and flowers on anniversaries. It is not fancy dates and slow dances. It is not superficial. 

It's shared tears. It's pouring out yourself for another person. It's taking the brunt of life's blows to protect the ones you care about. It's holding your tongue. It's keeping an open ear. It is endless forgiveness.

And what a better example of this than the death of Christ. All of us, fallen and unworthy, are given infinite chances to achieve eternity because of His sacrifice. It is so great a love that it overwhelms me.

I am not worthy of such love. Not from Christ, and not from the other people in my life. 

But I'm trying to be. 

The best way I can show love to others is to struggle against every passion that is beating me backwards. To love is to rise above everything that drags you down. In taking control of yourself, there is no limit to the love that others will feel emanating from you. 

Whether this means controlling your temper, or sacrificing sleep so your partner can rest, or overcoming anxiety by talking to someone who might need an ear, these small steps make the biggest difference. 

While it has been hard to sit at the foot of the Cross, it has been transformative. It inspires me to dig deep and cultivate a more Christ-like love within myself. It makes the sleepless nights seem worth it. It shows me that, through selflessness, I might aid others in their salvation. 

Now, every Sunday, as I look up to Christ, I know that He is able to look down upon us all and see that His sacrifice was worth it. Because that is how I feel, looking down at my sleeping child. 

It has all been worth it.