17 July 2016

This is not a crucifix

This is the profession cross of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis. People receive it when they become professed members of the Order. For Tertiaries, it is roughly the equivalent of the habit worn by our First and Second Order brothers and sisters.

It is not a crucifix.

I know . . . first impressions. But in the West, crucifixes normally bear a three-dimensional image of Christ. Instead this cross bears a mere outline of Christ’s body, a silhouette if you like. When I look at it, I do not see a crucifix; I see an empty cross that has had etched into it a memory of crucifixion. And that is just as it should be: the empty cross bears witness to our Lord’s resurrection, but the shadow of crucifixion reminds us of his suffering on our behalf.

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