Saturday, January 8, 2011

A People of the Cross

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." - Paul's letter to the Galatians 6.14

The cross is at the center of everything that we do as Catholics.

Our churches display a representation of Jesus on the cross at the front and center of their sanctuaries. The sides are adorned with images of the Stations of the Cross. A crucifix often leads the procession at the beginning of Mass. Our greatest churches are laid out in the shape of a cross. And it is with the holy Sign of the Cross that we mark ourselves before prayer and strengthen ourselves in times of temptation and hardship.

When we are baptized, we are truly baptized into Christ's death, so that we may be raised with Him (Romans 6). In our Holy Scriptures we are exhorted by Christ himself that in order to be his disciple, we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow him (Luke 9). Some of our saints have even been given the gift of stigmata, or the miraculous appearance of the wounds of Jesus on their own bodies.

For the way of life is the way of the cross.

And so it is for this reason that the very climax of our most sacred worship, the Mass, which we celebrate every Sunday - nay, every day - is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross made present in the Eucharist. It is not only a remembrance of the cross but a re-presentation of it: the work of our salvation is made sacramentally present at every Mass. As we kneel in the midst of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we in a mysterious way kneel before the holy cross of our salvation.

It is His cross from which we draw all grace, hope, and strength. Indeed, this Eucharist, in which our salvation is made present, is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (LG 11, CCC 1324).

Because we Catholics are a people of the Cross.

5 comments:

  1. Hi Brantly,

    I have a question for you, but it is not related to this post... I could not comment on your faith story though, so I ask you here. It seems that you and your wife did some research on contraception and the catholic faith. I was wondering if the rhythm method also counts as contraception. I measure my temperature every morning, and the computer tells me when I am fertile. On these days you avoid intercourse.

    Thanks for your time.

    I love your blog!

    - Mary

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  2. Hey Mary,

    Great question!
    The answer is no, what you are describing is not contraception. What you are doing is working with your body's natural cycle. The Catholic Church has given full approval to that.

    Contraception, on the other hand, goes against your body. Contraception includes any kind of barrier method (condom), hormonal treatment to make a woman not ovulate (e.g. The Pill; FYI, if it makes her miscarry then it's an abortion), IUD (intrauterine device), coitus interuptus, any surgery that's meant to make either the man or woman sterile, etc.

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  3. I have a question and hope you can help. I am Catholic and my boyfriend is not. Though he is asking a lot of questions about the Catholic Faith. One of this major issue is that he said that he didn't understand why Catholics have Jesus on the cross and protestant's just have the cross. He says that Jesus has been risen so we shouldn't remember him on the cross. What is a good way to explain this to a protestant? Please help

    Thanks,
    Elise

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  4. It is done simply as a reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus did for us. It should aslo remind us of what is celebrated every sunday at mass. Whenever we see Jesus on the cross it should take us to John 3:16 in scripture. During Christmas many churches have Jesus as a baby in a manger with Mary. Does that mean that Jesus is still a baby and didn't grow up?

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    Replies
    1. Very good point about nativity scenes. Thanks!

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