More than ever I feel the need of having Thee close to me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Of what use is an empty cross?
None, really. It is just a piece of wood, or two pieces of wood, it signifies a hollow, sanitised Protestant version of.......what?.......certainly not the sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary...... no sign of the redemptive power of suffering and God's love for us in allowing His Son to be shamed, humiliated, beaten and executed as a common criminal.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen called it a symbol of totalitarian regimes, a cross without the saving Victim has no sacrificial element, it has no saving grace.
Bland, meaningless, insulting!
A number of comments have been made following my post regarding the ten things you would not find in a Catholic home; my tenth item was a wooden cross.
This may have been puzzling to some people so I set about finding Archbishop Sheen's famous talk on the value of the crucifix as opposed to the cross.
I recalled that I gave my CD set to my terminally ill sister in the hope that it would bring her some comfort in coping with her suffering. I do not know if it did. She died some six months later with no acknowledgement, not that I was looking for any.
My next step was to Google the matter and, much to my chagrin, I found that Mundabor had beaten me to it with a post in July. I cannot improve on that post. I wish I knew some Italian swear words.
So, straight from Mundabor's Blog comes part of ++ Sheen's sermon on the cross....
Re-browsing the exceedingly beautiful “Life of Christ” from the great Fulton Sheen (a book that, if you ask me, should be obligatory reading in every RCIA, or confirmation class) I stumbled upon this very beautiful concept which, once again, made on me a profound impression (emphases always mine).
“The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is the Christ”. [...] Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.”
“Communism has chosen the Cross in the sense that it has brought back to an egotistic world a sense of discipline, self-abnegation, surrender, hard work, study, and dedication to supraindividual goals. But the Cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. Hence, Communism has produced a society that is authoritarian, cruel, oppressive of human freedom, filled with concentrantion camps, firing squads, and brain-washings”
“The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces. [...] Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears”.
Ben Trovato of Countercultural Father pointed out that Opus Dei members keep an 'empty' cross to remind them that they must be prepared to shoulder it throughout their lives, some religious orders also display a cross for the same purpose. All that is good and fine.
But, for those Catholics who put a cross rather than a crucifix on their wall they might like to consider the implications. Is it a denial of Christ? Is it just a euphemistic symbol? Is it a means to avoid meditating upon the shame and the agony associated with the crucifixion? ( Some Protestants believe that we Catholics enjoy keeping Christ permanently crucified without realising that the sacrifice on Calvary was not a one off and that the same sacrifice is made in an unbloody fashion at every Mass celebrated every day throughout the world).
Reflective, saving, poignant and fulfilling!
It is a scandal that, at one of the churches that I travel to for Sunday Mass, a large empty wooden cross hangs over the altar - the ultimate insult to one who made His sacrificial offering on our behalf.