Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

When I Survey The Wondrous Crucifix

I posted about sacramentals recently and got to thinking again about the crucifix and how at times it becomes a point of contention between us and non-Catholic believers. Some folks have even said that Catholics have Christ on the crucifix because we think He is still there and didn't rise from the dead! Yet, if that were so we wouldn't celebrate the Resurrection so gloriously on Easter! After all, as St. Paul said, if there was no resurrection, why baptize people on behalf of the dead? (Did St. Paul really say that?)
Needless to say, Catholics believe very much in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and it was the Council of Nicea of the early Catholic Church in 325 AD that decreed "On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven...."
So we have established that Catholics believe Christ rose from the dead and as a Church made sure it was in this fourth century theological "white paper" we call the Creed.
Why the insistence on using a crucifix instead of an empty cross as a symbol of veneration?
The answers hearken back to Scripture and the theology that we derive from Scripture.

I Corinthians 1:23-24 "But we preach Christ crucified: unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God."

1 Cor 2:2, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

Rom 6:8 "But if we have died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with him."

Gal 3:1, "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?"

When I survey the wondrous Crucifix, I not only see the power of God as Paul says, but the love of God as well. His bruised and beaten body hanging on that rough wooden torture stake reminds me of the immense suffering He endured for me. It also is a reminder that on this side of the veil, we will have suffering in our own lives and can add our suffering to His as Paul says in Col 1:24. If my Master and Lord suffered, far be it from me to think that I, His servant, should partake any less in suffering particularly since He asks me to take up my cross and follow Him.

The crucifix reminds me that not only did He redeem me with His suffering but as John Paul 2 says, He redeemed suffering for us. No human suffering we endure is ever in vein, but is used by God for His purposes in our life and the life of others.
So as a Catholic believer, I now have a crucifix within site in almost every room at home, one at my desk at work, one at my bedside and the beautiful one above my bed that I blogged about before. I close with the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen pointed out to me by This Catholic Journey blogger recently.

Keep your eyes on the crucifix,
for Jesus without the cross
is a man without a mission,
and the cross without Jesus
is a burden without a reliever.

I encourage all believers to keep a crucifix nearby them as a daily physical reminder of what Christ did for us.


Blogger NotMyOpinion30 said...

Wonderful post.

January 11, 2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

I agree with Archbishop Fulton Sheen that the burden of a cross without Someone to relieve that burden would be insufferable. In spite of what some Protestants have said in their gross ignorance about Catholics not believing in the resurrection (how absurd!), it really all boils down to the fear of violating the second commandment. If Jesus is God, do we have any right at all to make an image of Him? Are we not violating the second commandment when we do so? Of course, this issue is not without some serious ambivalence for many Protestants, as you have pointed out previously. The manger scenes and lawn displays are neatly put away after Christmas until next year. And how about that latest "Jesus" movie that's out on DVD? I think this issue is more unsettled in many Protestant's minds than is generally acknowledged.

January 12, 2007 12:29 AM  
Blogger TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Lets also remember that the commandment is not just against creating images of God but against creating images of ANYTHING and worshipping them. The first instance of anyone misunderstanding this commandment came during the iconoclastic movement.

The Jews never understood this law as a complete prohibition against creating images and not even 3D images as the ark of the covenant and the Temple both made use of statues.

Fundamentalists (both Christian & Muslim) are really the only major groups now (that I know of) that hold such strictures against use of images.

(And most of them aren't consistent in their beliefs as you pointed out Pilgrim)

January 12, 2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger NotMyOpinion30 said...

I'm pretty sure that the hypocrisy amongst the evangelicals is apparent to everyone when it comes to their inconsistent iconoclasm. The other thing I'd like to note, many of the evangelical and fundamentalist "iconoclasts" set up their Christmas idols according to the secular Christmas season. That is, anytime from about Thanksgiving to Christmas. Christmas ends on Christmas day for them, just like it does at the malls.

For the Catholics, since the Tradition began, Christmas starts on Christmas and ends on the Ephipany. Hence the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

January 13, 2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

At the end of the day, I think it would be a rare non-Catholic who is not moved by the site of our Lord on a cross, particularly as depicted in The Passion of The Christ.
As PA said, perhaps their iconoclasm is rooted in a strong desire to not(in their mind), break the commandment against idolatry. So though we Catholics view their view of iconoclasm as inconsistent(see my post about 'Tis the Season For Graven Images), if their motivation is out of a love for God ,we can at least understand the underlying motivation.

January 13, 2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger DigiHairshirt said...

While walking today I was listening to my iPod, and specifically to a song by Brad Paisley called, "Love is Never Ending." When he got to the part of the refrain when he repeats the title of the song, the only image that came to my mind was the Crucifix.

Love is never ending, indeed . . .

January 14, 2007 8:02 PM  

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