Monday, September 14, 2009

Avoiding the Cross


The sign we give at the celebration of Mass most probably really illustrates the real attitude most of us have to the Cross, it hangs about behind us, loons over our shoulder but is mainly ignored.
Something very profound is being said when crucifix, altar, tabernacle and priest are seperated. When the priest actually stands with his back to the Cross, stands between the Cross and the congregation rather than linking them. When the Cross becomes a mere backdrop to the liturgy rather than its focus, what is being said?
Despite Jesus' words most of us avoid the Cross, few of us want to embrace it or to adore this instrument of death and salvation.
It is fallen human nature to run away from anything that speaks of death, pain, self abnegation. It is uncomfortable for us to acknowledge we are sinners and that Redemption is dependant not on us but on the Crucified Christ.
The criticism of contemporary catechesis and the modern liturgy that it avoids the Cross and Sacrifice should not be dismissed lightly, it is the very "crux" of the Gospel.
Quite literally, most of the Gospel's are about Jesus' Passion and death. Page for page, verse for verse the Gospels are about the Passion and Crucifixion, not teaching, not miracles and not even the Ressurrection.
The New Testament or New Covenant is made through the death of the Lamb on the altar of the Cross. It is Christ's death we are meant to proclaim until he comes in Glory: When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.

9 comments:

shadowlands said...

The parts of my self will that I have managed to surrender(and not through obedience I might add,through dire necessity after getting myself into all sorts of trouble),I find release and joy in those areas but some of my defects of character,I cling to.'Righteous' anger,envy of the way some people's lives have turned out etc. I really sense the need of the Cross having to be wrought in these areas of my life and I suppose,it is because of these defects that I have begun to put my faith at the top of the list in my life.I can't rid myself of them,I have tried and I see that only God's Power through the Cross can remove them. I also don't want to suffer too much after this life,Please God(depending on if I remain faithful of course). So there you have it,the reason why this self seeking coward has run to Our Lady's protection,she is the perfect example of anticipation of the Cross wrought in her own life and the sword that pierced her soul.

Michael Petek said...

"Despite Jesus' words most of us avoid the Cross, few of us want to embrace it or to adore this instrument of death and salvation.

"It is fallen human nature to run away from anything that speaks of death, pain, self abnegation."

Prudence, I think, warrants the deletion of the word 'fallen'.

Our Lord had no sin, yet in the midst of His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane He begged His Father to spare Him, if possible, the suffering and death He was to submit to.

His aversion to death was natural to Him as the Author of life. It's we sinners who like death so much that we've created a culture of it.

No, I think the reason why people are averse to the Cross is that it tells them something about themselves that they don't like to hear.

servusmariaen said...

Very insightful and truthful. Amen.

Pablo said...

This type of Christ crucified cross is also in the George Washington Freemason Museum in Washington, D.C.

It shows Christ killed; no blood of salvation from His wounds in His hands and feet. No blood and water from His side.

It is Satan mocking God in a display that he controls the Bride of Christ through Freemason infiltration of the Vatican.

Great Roman Catholic Sermon, Padre. I thought for a minute I was reading something by the Cure of Ars.

Que Dios te bendiga, Padre.

*

lizard said...

Quite literally, most of the Gospel's are ... not even the Ressurrection.

Father, it is a very misleading and dangerous phrase. Quite literally it contradicts the teaching of the Church. I understand the pathetic sense but still such exaggerated things should better be avoided.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Pablo,
I think the artist is following the ancient tradition of Christ "sleeping" on the Cross from which he reigns. His side is pierced and bleeding - nothing masonic about it.

Lizard,
Most of the Gospels verses are indeed about the Passion, I can't see how that contradicts Church teaching.

Discreet Observer said...

"Something very profound is being said when crucifix, altar, tabernacle and priest are seperated. When the priest actually stands with his back to the Cross, stands between the Cross and the congregation rather than linking them. When the Cross becomes a mere backdrop to the liturgy rather than its focus, what is being said?"

Father, you have described precisely the difference between the new form of Mass and the older form. I know which I prefer. It is this realisation that is making more people (priests and lay) question free-standing altars and celebrants facing the people with their backs to our Blessed Lord in the tabernacle [How many people would feel comfortable if a pilot, or a bus driver, sat at the front facing the passengers?]. Priorities have been distorted. But the problem is not limited to crucifix, altar, tabernacle and priest. While this separation is at the root of the problem this mentality also leads to such practices as removal of altar rails thus making the 'sanctuary' no longer a special place but just another area of the church for people to wander over (I saw one mother allowing her children to run about the wide open spaces of an enlarged sanctuary while she sat on the top step making a phone call). And then we have cafeteria queues of standing communicants. And so it goes on. At least Pope Benedict has grasped the problem and is trying to so something about it. Thise who oppose him are showing themselves up for who (what) they are.

lizard said...

Father,

almost always when our Lord says about His Passion, He also says about the Resurrection, both are inseparable, e.g. Lk 9 22: "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the ancients and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day rise again" I Cor 15.14: "And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." It is Resurrection that is always the theological focus - suffering has no value in itself, its value is solelyt and completely in Resurrection. Saying that most of the Gospels are not the Resurrection is overstated.

George said...

Today's lukewarm cafeteria catholics prefer to 'put down their cross, put up their feet, indulge themselves and have a rest', rather than as Our Blessed Lord instructed 'deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Me'.

God will never give us a cross that we are not able to carry. With daily resolve a prayer and a cheerful acceptance to get up and struggle with the days events comes a dependence on God that grows until we are truely Christian. It will take a lifetime, count on it, but after all - WHAT IS LIFE HERE ON EARTH FOR???? It is a preparation for us to truely merit and inherit eternal life with Him.