Tag Archives: crucifix



The Crucifix is the explanation of all enigmas, the solution of all doubts, the centre of all beliefs, the source of all hope, the symbol of all love.

It reveals man to himself, and God to man.

It presents a light to time, that it may regard eternity and be reassured.

The Crucifix is sweet to behold in the time of joy; in sorrow, there is no object to compare with it. It gives light in darkness; its silent preaching is always eloquent, and death is life in presence of this grand pledge of eternal life.

– P. Faber


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We heard faintly from the lips of a dying religious a few stanzas which she murmured while her tearful eyes were fixed on the crucifix in her hand.

We give them, just as we found them in a book belonging to one of the pious sisters.

They were, without doubt, written for the cloister, but why not bring into families from time to time a little of the calm, peaceful, loving atmosphere of religious houses?

To My Crucifix

Come, let me hold thee to my heart, my hope divine/ Thou blessed sign of heavenly happiness/ Thou whom I hold in live ne’er to resign/ Since the vows I profess.

Yes, let me hold thee close; for art thou not my all?/ Art thou not my treasure till my last hour is near?/ Art thou not of the Spouse, whose image thou dost recall/ The tenderest souvenir?

On thee, on thee alone, my fervent hopes I base/ Than sceptres thou more precious dost appear/ And beyond the empire of the world I place/ My crucifix most dear.

For thou dost take the place of riches and of home/ All that I’ve left thou dost become for me/ My love, my only good, wherever I may roam/ My family ‘this thee.

Beyond the nails and tears naught wish I to possess/ What are the world’s most dazzling favours worth?/ One sigh breathed at thy feet for me doth more express/ than loud songs of mirth.

Thou ne’er wilt leave me when the last hour’s at hand/ My dying glance thy holy face will seek/ For the mute prayer thou sure wilt understand/ I am too weak to speak.

When this poor frame lies motionless and cold/ My rigid fingers still will clasp my all/ When friends have left, thou still thy watch wilt hold/ Beneath my funeral pall.

Ah! yes, come to my heart, thou holy, wondrous sign!/ Speak of my God, whose love is ever high/ May I love Him, and follow, suffer, ne’er repine/ To my last earthly sigh.

– From: Golden Grains, Eighth Edition, H.M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889


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Meditating on the crucifix and other pictures of Christ and His Saints

“The images of Christ and His Saints serve as a book of instruction wherein we may learn what Christ did and suffered for us; and what His Saints did and endured for Him, giving us an example we should follow.

They also serve to remind us of the great blessings that God conferred on us. They should incite us to gratitude to God and zeal for His service.”

– Father Gebhard, 1952


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“We should bear patiently all the trial of life – infirmities, sufferings, reverses of fortune, family losses, affronts, persecutions, in a word, all adversities. Understand this well: the evils of this life are so many proofs that God loves us, and wishes to save us.

Let us understand also that involuntary mortifications, such as He Himself sends us, are more meritorious in the eyes of God than those which we undertake of our own choice.

Let us, then, be patient and resigned in sickness. This is the devotion of devotions. If we cannot meditate at such a time, let us look upon Jesus crucified, offering Him our sufferings in union with His own. And when we are warned of the approach of death, let us accept it calmly, in a spirit of sacrifice, that is, declaring that we are willing to die to please Jesus Christ. We should not desire to live longer in order to do penance. Let us accept death with perfect resignation; this is the best of all penances.”
– Laverty & Son (eds), 1905


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• “The ALTAR STONE is the main part of the altar. It may be the whole table of the altar or a stone placed in the centre of the table. In either case it must be consecrated by a Bishop. It is marked with five carved crosses, and should generally contain the relics of several Martyrs. The relics of one Martyr are sufficient for validity of consecration.

• The altar table should be covered with three ALTAR CLOTHS properly blessed. These should be made of linen, and the uppermost cloth should hang down on either side almost to the floor.

• In the centre of the altar table stands the TABERNACLE, an appropriate shrine in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. It should be wholly lined in the interior with white silk or gilded plating.

• The TABERNACLE KEY should be gilded and should be on a ribbon or chain. It is exclusively in charge of the priest, who has a grave obligation of keeping it safe from profane hands.

• A CROSS bearing a conspicuous FIGURE OF JESUS CRUCIFIED is placed in the middle of the altar between the candlesticks.

• On the main altar are placed six large candlesticks, between which the Crucifix has a prominent position. On the other altars at least two candlesticks should be placed. The CANDLES used during Mass are of beeswax.

• On the altar are three ALTAR CARDS – one in front of the tabernacle, and one at each side of the altar. Inscribed on these cards are some of the prayers said by the priest during Mass.

• The MISSAL (Mass-book) contains the text of the various Masses. During Mass it rests on the MISSAL-STAND.

• Near the altar on a small table (CREDENCE table) are placed the CRUETS containing wine and water, and also a bowl and SMALL TOWEL for the washing of the priest’s fingers at the LAVABO.

• On the step of the altar is kept the ALTAR-BELL. It is to be rung during Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament to call the attention of those present to the more inportant parts of these services.

• Before the tabernacle in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved there burns continually day and night at least one SANCTUARY LAMP, for which olive oil or beeswax is used.” (Slight changes have been made since, but the essence applies as always.)
– Brepols, 1952


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On this day, when ‘Christ our passover was sacrificed’, the Church meditates on the Passion of her Lord and Spouse, adores the Cross, commemorates her origin from the side of Christ on the Cross, and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world.

On this day, in accordance with ancient tradition, the Church does not celebrate the Eucharist: Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful during the celebration of the Lord’s Passion alone, though it may be brought at any time of the day to the sick who cannot take part in the celebration.

Good Friday is a day of penance to be observed as of obligation in the whole Church through abstinence and fasting.

All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. Funerals are to be celebrated without singing, music, or the tolling of bells.

It is recommended that on this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches.

The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion is to take place in the afternoon, at about three o’clock. The time will be chosen as shall seem most appropriate for pastoral reasons in order to allow the people to assemble more easily, for example, shortly after midday, or in the late evening, however, no later than nine o’clock.

The Order for the celebration of the Lord’s Passion (the liturgy of the Word, the adoration of the Cross, and Holy Communion) stems from an ancient tradition of the Church and should be observed faithfully and religiously; it may not be changed by anyone on his own initiative.

The priest and ministers proceed to the altar in silence, and without any singing. If any words of introduction are to be said, they should be pronounced before the ministers enter. The priest and ministers make a reverence to the altar, prostrating themselves. This act of prostration, which is proper to the rite of the day, should be strictly observed, for it signifies both the abasement of ‘earthly man’, and also the grief and sorrow of the Church. The faithful, for their part, should be standing as the ministers enter, and thereafter should kneel in silent prayer.

The readings are to be read in their entirety. The responsorial psalm and the chant before the Gospel are to be sung in the usual manner. The narrative of the Lord’s Passion according to John is sung or read in the way prescribed. After the reading of the Passion, a homily should be given, at the end of which the faithful may be invited to spend a short time in meditation.

The General Intercessions are to follow the wording and form handed down by ancient tradition, maintaining the full range of intentions, so as to signify clearly the universal effect of the Passion of Christ, who hung on the Cross for the salvation of the whole world. In case of grave public necessity the local Ordinary may permit or prescribe the adding of special intentions.

In this event it is permitted that the priest select from the prayers of the Missal those more appropriate to local circumstances, in such a way however that the series follows the rule for General Intercessions.

For veneration of the Cross, let a cross be used that is of appropriate size and beauty, and let one or other of the forms for this rite as found in the Roman Missal be followed. The rite should be carried out with the splendour worthy of the mystery of our salvation: both the invitation pronounced at the unveiling of the Cross, and the people’s response should be made in song, and a period of respectful silence is to be observed after each act of veneration, the celebrant standing and holding the raised Cross.

The Cross is to be presented to each of the faithful individually for their adoration, since the personal adoration of the Cross is a most important feature in this celebration, and only when necessitated by the large numbers of faithful present should the rite of veneration be made simultaneously by all present.

Only one Cross should be used for the veneration, as this contributes to the full symbolism of the rite. During the veneration of the Cross the antiphons, ‘Reproaches’ and hymns should be sung, so that the history of salvation be commemorated through song. Other appropriate songs may also be sung.

The priest sings the invitation to the Lord’s Prayer, which is then sung by all. The sign of peace is not exchanged. The Communion rite is as described in the Missal.

During the distribution of Communion, psalm 21 or another suitable song may be sung. When Communion has been distributed the pyx is taken to a place prepared for it outside the church.

After the celebration, the altar is stripped, the Cross remaining however, with four candles. An appropriate place (for example, the chapel of repose used for reservation of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday) can be prepared within the church, and there the Lord’s Cross is placed so that the faithful may venerate and kiss it, and spend some time in meditation.

Devotions, such as the Way of the Cross, processions of the Passion, and the commemorations of the sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not, for pastoral reasons, to be neglected. The texts and songs used should be adapted to the spirit of the Liturgy of this day. Such devotions should be assigned to a time of day that makes it quite clear that the liturgical celebration by its very nature far surpasses them in importance.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988


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Behold, my beloved and good Jesus,
I cast myself upon my knees in your sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul,
I pray and beseech you to impress upon my heart
lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity,
with a true repentance for my sins
and a firm desire of amendment,
while with deep affection and grief of soul
I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate
your five most precious wounds,
having before my eyes
that which David spoke in prophecy of you,
O good Jesus:
‘They have pierced my hands and my feet;
they have numbered all my bones.’


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