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  • Sarah Beth Dippel


When you walk into a Catholic church, usually the first thing you will notice is the crucifix. If you have grown up Catholic, perhaps you have never given the corpus a second thought. It seems natural to have a dead man hanging on the wall. But many Protestant churches shy away from this tradition and choose instead to display a plain cross or perhaps no cross at all. I am not going to judge all those churches that have chosen not to show the body of our Savior, but I will tell you why gazing lovingly upon the broken, bloodied and crucified body of our Lord is just so important.

The crucifix reminds us that Christ shares in our suffering. When something tragic happens in our lives that we have no way of making sense of, the Lord is there. You only have to look to the cross to see Him suffering with you.

The crucifix reminds us that there is no resurrection without the cross. The Church requires that a crucifix be visible during the Mass to visually help us recall the sacrifice Jesus made on the altar of the cross.

Here is the thing friends, the cross is what we deserve. The cross reminds us that Jesus loves us so much that he (who had no sin) suffers for our sins.

Some say the crucifix is offensive.

St. Augustine says, “The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory.”

Some say the crucifix is a source of discomfort.

St. Pope John Paul II says, “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

Reflecting on the corpus of our Lord reminds us that when we suffer, He is with us in the suffering. It tells us that He loves us so much He laid down His own life for our eternal life. The cross is an example of how we are to live, willing to pick up our cross and follow Him.

A plain cross simply cannot carry the same meaning. #livinglent2

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