I haven’t always found the image of he cross or crucifix beautiful, but due to an outpouring of grace, I do now. When I look at the cross, I see 4 “L’s” coming together, meeting in the center. Any which way I look at it, those “L’s” remind me of Love. Looking upon Christ on the crucifix I see nothing but beautiful, self-sacrificing, pure love, poured out just for me. Mercy!
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Since the cross is our only means of salvation, as Christians, we must learn to embrace it.
The people in Herzegovina, Croatia seem to deeply understand the power of the cross. They have a beautiful tradition whereby they integrate the crucifix into to the marriage ceremony, and the result, in one small town, has been zero divorces among its 13,000 inhabitants. Here is what they do.
“When the bride and groom set off for the church, they bring a crucifix with them. The priest blesses the crucifix, which takes on a central role during the exchange of vows. The bride places her right hand on the crucifix and the groom places his hand over hers. Thus the two hands are bound together on the cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole as they proclaim their vows to be faithful, according to the rites of the Church. The bride and groom do not then kiss each other, they rather kiss the cross. They know that they are kissing the source of love. Anyone close enough to see their two hands joined over the cross understands clearly that if the husband abandons his wife or if the wife abandons her husband, they let go of the cross. And if they abandon the cross, they have nothing left. They have lost everything for they have abandoned Jesus. They have lost Jesus.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds bring the crucifix back and give it a place of honor in their home. It becomes the focal point of family prayer, for the young couple believes deeply that the family is born of the Cross. When a trouble arises, or if a conflict breaks out, it is before this cross that they will seek help.”
As Christ tells us:
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. John 13:34
Pray for all marriages, that they are given the courage to never let go of the cross.
Peace, Joy, and Love,
Invite someone to kiss the cross in a sacrifice of prayer. Pass it on.