A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

It is perverse

Imagine putting a replica of a dead man in an electric chair on top of buildings, on billboards, in children’s bedrooms, or hanging above a Church altar.

That gives you a hint of how perverse it is for us to have crucifixes as objects to foster religious devotion (or even simple crosses: in many ways the G-rated version of the same thing).

Except that the crucifix was much WORSE than an electric chair.

In our faux-antiseptic society, criminals are executed out of the public eye, dressed neatly, their heads sometimes discretely covered with a hood, and killed in seconds.

Crucifixion was slow and very public. Crosses stood by the main road, where everyone walked by. Stripped of clothes and dignity, the condemned would suffer for hours before death would take them and then their bodies would hang there hours more for the sport of stone throwers and birds.

Our centuries of pious devotion have distanced us from the revulsion and the horror of crucifixion. The recent film The Passion of the Christ has reminded many of crucifixion’s bloody reality. Furthermore, the revulsion to the film that was expressed by non-believers and many of the world’s elite has reminded us of the perversion of our exaltation of the holy cross.

It pleased God to save those who believe
through the folly of what we preach.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
but we preach Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:21b-25

Christ’s death on the cross was the perfect realization of God’s self-sacrificing love for us. Christ’s death on the cross was the means by which he took sin and death to himself so that he may free us from both. Christ’s death on the cross, with all its suffering and degradation, is the great sign of unconquerable hope for us, no matter how difficult our own lives may become.

Today the Church celebrates
the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

(Adapted from an earlier post)