September 14, 2011

Lift High the Cross

Christ of St. John of the Cross
by Salvator Dali
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself, says the Lord."
(Jn 12:32)

As we celebrate today's Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross I am reminded of how often I find myself gazing upon the images of the Cross, more specifically the Crucifix, that are found in church and on the walls of my office and the rooms of my home. My most favorite image is the one pictured above painted by Salvatore Dali.  It is his interpretaion of a drawing done by St. John of the Cross who drew the image of the crucified Christ from the vantage point of the Father in Heaven.

Dali paints from the same vantage point but with such exquisit detail. The Cross hovers over the earth bathed in light from Heaven. Below is pictured a lake with fishermen tending their boats.  We know from Scripture that Jesus used the image of fishing as a symbol for gathering in abundant souls to Himself.  It is also interesting to note that there are no nails in the hands and feet of Jesus in Dali's painting. Also absent is the crown of thorns.  Dali's depection is said to have been revealed to him in a dream and these things were missing. 

The Cross is not an easy thing to accept.  St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians: 1:23  that  Christ crucified is "a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles."  Why do we make a gruesome symbol of death the primary symbol of our Catholic faith? As I look upon the Cross I reflect on what it is that the Cross represents.  Jesus' death upon the Cross shows us the depths that Jesus went to proove His Love for us.  His Cross also teaches us that in order to follow Jesus, we too must take up our crosses, knowing that if we bear them with the same Love and obedience as Jesus did, then we too will be glorified in Him. As we celebrate this Feast I thank the Lord for offering Himself upon the Cross for the salvation of all mankind. 

This morning at Mass, which was attended by our high school seniors, we sang this hymn.  I chose this version because of the beautiful art work but it is a wonderful hymn that unfortunatly we don't sing often enough in our parishes.

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