As Catholics, we are very familiar with the image of the Crucifix. We see the Crucifix in every Catholic Church and it is likely we have a Crucifix at home, or that we wear one. And if we carry a Rosary, there is a Crucifix attached.
Perhaps, we are so familiar with the Crucifix that we might sometimes look upon it and not really think about what we are seeing depicted.
Recently, I read a meditation on the Crucifix which began by encouraging us to look at the reverse, the empty side, asking what we see. The empty cross is nothing more than a symbol of ignominy and torture, a thing to be feared and avoided as it represents suffering and death.
But on looking upon the front, where Christ is nailed, the Cross has become something else; now, it is a symbol of hope and joy, the path to Resurrection, to be embraced and loved, for He Who hangs there has so loved us – the Cross is the ultimate proof of that love for us.
I found this to be a powerful meditation and it has remained with me.
The words of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, given to the right, express a very similar sentiment. Christ has transformed something awful into something salvific; He has transformed sadness into joy, death into life.
The Pope goes so far as to describe the Cross as “Christ’s Throne”.
Here, upon the Cross, the Merciful Lord expresses in a perfect way – and in a moment which extends throughout all eternity – His infinite love for every single one of us. This is the singular place of merciful love, of compassion and redemption for all humanity.
Here, from the pierced Heart of the Crucified Saviour, streams of Blood and Water gush forth for souls – and in those streams, we find every redemptive and sanctifying grace.
Indeed, this Cross is truly the Throne of Christ, the Throne of Mercy.
This is a reality we recall every day at 3:00pm with one of the Divine Mercy prayers –
‘O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You!’
There are a great variety of meditations available on the Crucifix – some short, some longer, some incredibly beautiful and moving. But the words all point back to the image of the Crucified – and it is His image which moves and touches us, those extended arms reaching out to us and to all souls, beckoning us to stand faithfully beside this Cross along with His Mother, who He gives to us and asks us to embrace, a look of gentle mercy in His eyes as His death approaches, that death leading to Resurrection. In His great mercy, this Resurrection is not only for Him, but for all of us – our salvation is the very reason for His offering of Himself to the Eternal Father.
Sometimes, the silent prayer of interior meditation can be a very powerful one, a prayer which echoes in the heart and resonates deep in the soul. A Crucifix can be a great aid to such interior meditation.
When next our eyes fall upon the Crucifix in Church, at home, around our neck, or in our pocket, may we really contemplate what we see before us; and may His grace touch us and move us to adore Him, hanging there silently for love of us, for our redemption.
In His Cross, may we find life eternal.