March 08, 2008

Where's the Suffering?

The latest, and probably the last (and weakest-it's been a tough week), of my Lenten meditations on the Cross. Well, "meditations" sounds really organized, well-thought out and formal. I'm not that organized these days. Maybe "musing" is better. Another in my attempts to make personal sense of something and confuse everyone else-LOL!

My other posts were here, here and here

For a while now, I’ve been “bothered” by, what I call, “Risen Christ” crucifixes (see the photo). I know of some local parishes that have this crucifix in their sanctuaries. You may even have one in your home. I don’t mean to insult anyone with these Lenten meditations of mine. I know personal crucifixes are personal things. Seriously. I’ve known people who spend years looking for a home crucifix that “speaks” to them.

But, I think I finally figured out what “bugs” me about the “Risen Christ” crucifix. Where are the wounds? Where’s the suffering? Where’s the humiliation of being naked (or nearly naked)? Where’s the crown of thorns? Where’s INRI? It’s like we just skipped to “the good part” which to me is, I think, why a lot of people like this crucifix and corpus and no other. It’s the Resurrection and the Ascension without the Passion and Death. It’s Redemption without Sin.

I’ve noticed that parishes that tend to have this Crucifix, downplay Sin and Confession. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

But, does it follow that parishes that have the 'Suffering' Crucifix play down the Resurrection? I've never experienced that. It shouldn't be happening if it is.

Like I've said, crucifixes can be a matter of personal taste but I think it should be clearly emphasized in all cases what the Cross really means: suffering, sin, redemption, resurrection. All of it not just part of it.


Blogger Tom in Vegas said...

I don't mind the Risen Christ crucifix simply because it tries (I think) to juxtaposition the Crucifiction and Resurrection of Jesus with one image. Yet there is more than one way to look at it. In a Risen Christ crucifix the Cross is behind Jesus, and Jesus is to the foreground: one might be able to conclude that sin, death, and decay (symbolized by the cross) has been superceded by the fullness, restorative, and glorious Resurrection of Jesus (symbolized by the risen Christ). The Cross - again to the back of Jesus - also symbolizes out dilapidated earthly past, while the Risen Christ (to the front) symbolizes future.

Having said that, if this were a crucifix depicting a clean and less than suffering Jesus without an INRI, or crown of thorns, I’d have some serious problems with it. MAJOR problems.

Anyway, that’s my take on the whole thing.

March 08, 2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

Pope Pius XII said that these types of "crucifix" were not to be used, that they, in fact, tried to obscure the central mystery of the Sacrafice, and were not to be permitted at Mass, because they obscured the nture of the Eucharist.

This has never been superceeded, meerly ignored.

March 08, 2008 6:12 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Tom: Good points.
Redneck: I did not know that and I'm a fan of Pius XII. I'll have to read up on it.

March 08, 2008 6:19 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

Good points, Tom. I think there is a time and place for both types of crucifixes. We need to remember the sufferings of Christ, but also that He was victorious over death.
I know of one parish which has a cross with interchangeable corpora; the risen one is for the Easter season. All of the post-resurrection representations I have seen have the prints of the nails, and the wound in the side, if that is exposed. I have read that the San Damiano crucifix of St. Francis is a risen Christ.

March 08, 2008 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Georgette said...

I also do not like these crosses--they make me cringe! They were created in response to the hyper-criticism of Catholics and the Crucifix, which comes from the very sad misunderstanding of the supreme significance of Christ's Sacrifice, and its importance as the very source and summit of Salvation History; it shook the very foundation of the world. To prefer these crosses over the Crucifix is to show disdain -- or ignorance -- of this Event.

March 08, 2008 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Damiano is not a risen Christ. He is shown alive but nailed to the cross.

As to Tom's comment that the cross symbolizes sin and death-- I thought the cross symbolized victory over sin and death, not sin and death itself. It seems to me the tomb symbolizes sin and death.

March 10, 2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

Here is a good link to read more about the San Damiano crucifix, which is actually an icon:

March 10, 2008 7:12 PM  

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