Small Graces

I was driving out to the park today with Chris and the kids and we were talking about cute things our daughter has done recently. I told him that she had kissed Jesus on the cross next to his bedside, and he somewhat sheepishly told me he had started that with her. She had commanded me to kiss Jesus as well. Chris asked surprised, “Did you do it??” and I said “Yes! Why not?” So he called me a dirty Catholic 😉

Thinking about it more, I realized I have never had a problem with icons, statues, and crucifixes. Accusations of idolatry seemed ridiculous to me from their first mention. The image turns my heart to Christ, not to a canvas with paint on it or a well molded piece of rock. Long before Chris came along I had kissed Jesus of my own accord. I feel moved to do so. I am the kind of person who kisses pictures of my loved ones when I miss them, sniffs shirts and blankets that smell like my babies, and has keepsakes like rocks and shells from the places I’ve been. If I do all of that to keep ordinary things in my heart, how much more will I do to keep the Lord Jesus Christ in my heart? Kissing His image is among the first thing I want to do.

In gradeschool I can remember doodling crucifixes on my notepads. Yes, crucifixes with the thorny crown and all. Repeatedly. The suffering image of Christ on the cross has always held a special fascination for me and I love to contemplate every line of his face, his expression, every wound he suffered for my redemption. What kind of man would I find on a cross dying for my sins and what unfathomable love would move Him to do that? I tried every time I doodled to portray it and always fell short, but my heart has always found Christ there on the cross and I am comforted to see Him there every Sunday.

It’s amazing the things the Lord puts in our hearts as seeds of truth. He has always drawn me toward Him and into the bossom of His Church, always giving me roadsigns to find my way home, making this sometimes difficult journey easier. I’m thankful for these small graces.

6 Responses to Small Graces

  1. Stacey says:

    😛 I know it.

  2. stirenaeus says:

    My kwinkydink: I can do anything Orthodox or Catholic and not flinch — kneel, prostrate, kiss icons, rosaries, whatever — except at my Anglican church, I can’t bow like everyone else does when the cross is processed in and out. Feels weird. Maybe it’s because there’s no Jesus on it — it’s merely a cross, not a crucifix.

  3. Stacey says:

    Maybe we oughta call you the dirty Catholic 😉

  4. Ragamuffin says:

    Why would it be a problem to bow when the cross is processed in and out? Is the cross alone really that less of a significant symbol than a crucifix? One shows Christ dead/dying and the other shows the cross after he’s been taken down from it or resurrected. Either way, what is being represented is powerful and meaningful. And certainly there is no “real presence” associated with having a figure of Christ actually on the cross itself. What gives?

  5. stirenaeus says:

    Not saying it is rational. Maybe — just maybe — it’s because there’s no Jesus on it, and thus it’s *only* a cross. That is, with a Crucifix, it’s some sort of iconic (broadly speaking) representation of Jesus himself, like a sacramental, but with the plain cross, it’s just a cross. Since one can reverence tokens of Jesus, since he’s God, but not other things that are not God, maybe it’s not OK to reverence the empty cross.

    Just a thought. Since I react like this to the empty cross but not the crucifix (like when I go to Mass and they process in with a crucifix proper), it’s probably the reason.

    I wonder if I’d have the same issue with relics proper, like the True Cross, or Veronica’s veil, or Longinus’ spear, or…hmmm. I’ll see what happens in Rome this summer.

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