A crucifix is pictured at a Maryland Catholic church. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Why have a crucifix in your home?
BY DCN. JAY W. VANHOOSIER, OFFICE OF FAITH FORMATION
Why have a crucifix in your home?
Some of you might find this surprising but I get asked this question quite a lot by Catholics, not just my Protestant friends! I would like to share with you five reasons why I feel it is important that a crucifix should be in your home, and not just a cross: a crucifix. There is vast difference. A cross is a simple reminder of the instrument the Romans used to execute criminals. A crucifix is a cross with a corpus, or body, of Jesus on it. Here are my five reasons:
We should have a crucifix in our homes because the saints have set this example for us. Prayer in front of a crucifix is encouraged as a means of focusing contemplation on Christ. Many of the saints practiced this, both in everyday prayer and also when they were suffering. Catherine of Siena was known to look upon a crucifix for hours each day and when Joan of Arc was martyred, she asked a member of the clergy present to hold a crucifix before her.
It reminds us not to run from the tough stuff. Jesus relied on his 12 apostles for so much. The night before He died, He begged them to stay with him throughout the night, and they all fell asleep. On the day when He needed them most, only John stayed with Him, choosing to remain with the Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross. John didn’t leave, and we should try and emulate that.
Our home is a “domestic church,” and it is a holy place. Think about it: your home is inhabited by people who belong to God through baptism, are confirmed in the Holy Spirit, sanctified through the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage and fed with Christ’s Body and Blood. It is a place where forgiveness is taught and sought, where our faith is passed on from one generation to the next and Christ’s love is exemplified (though imperfectly.) Our home should reflect all of this with a prominent sign of Christ’s sacrificial love: the crucifix.
The crucifix is a constant reminder that Christ has conquered sin and death, and ultimately conquered evil. We are surrounded by evil. Sometimes, it seems as if evil has the upper hand. That is not so, and Christ’s death on the cross is proof. Simply have a crucifix to gaze upon in our homes is a reminder of this, and a way to strengthen us for battle! If you’ve never had a crucifix in your home, consider getting one. Ask your priest to bless it (it only takes a moment!). If you do have a crucifix, consider putting more in your home: in the bedrooms, for example. The crucifix ix a sign of God’s overwhelming love for us; who doesn’t need a constant reminder of that?
The crucifix is a visual reminder of the Eucharistic sacrifice we participate in when we come together in communion to celebrate Mass. When we participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are witnessing the very same sacrifice that Jesus made for us 2,000 years ago – the very same! It is as if we are transported, each time we go to Mass, to be standing with Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John watching Jesus’ suffering – just in a different form. That is almost an overwhelming thought! But it is true. And a crucifix continually reminds us of this – it draws to the Eucharist!
Dcn. Jay W. VanHoosier is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Owensboro. For more information visit owensborodiocese.org/faith-formation, email email@example.com or call (270) 852-8324.
Originally printed in the November 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.