We are used to seeing crucifixes in church and that seems “normal,” but why have a crucifix in our homes?
(By the way, there is a difference between a cross and a crucifix. A cross is a simple reminder of the instrument the Romans used to execute criminals. A crucifix is a cross with a corpus, or body, of Jesus on it.)
- We should have a crucifix in our homes because the saints have set this example for us. “Prayer in front of a crucifix is encouraged as a means of focusing contemplation on Christ. Many of the saints practiced this, both in everyday prayer and also when they were suffering. Catherine of Siena was known to look upon a Crucifix for hours each day and when Joan of Arc was martyred, she asked a member of the clergy present to hold a crucifix before her.”
- It reminds us not to run from the tough stuff. Jesus relied on his twelve Apostles for so much. The night before He died, He begged them to stay with him throughout the night, and they all fell asleep. On the day when He needed them most, only John stayed with Him, choosing to remain with the Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross. John didn’t leave, and we should try and emulate that.
- Our home is a “domestic church,” and it is a holy place. Think about it: your home is inhabited by people who belong to God through baptism, are confirmed in the Holy Spirit, sanctified through the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage and fed with Christ’s Body and Blood. It is a place where forgiveness is taught and sought, where our faith is passed on from one generation to the next and Christ’s love is exemplified (though imperfectly.) Our home should reflect all of this with a prominent sign of Christ’s sacrificial love: the crucifix.
- The crucifix is a constant reminder that Christ has conquered sin and death, and ultimately conquered evil. We are surrounded by evil. Sometimes, it seems as if evil has the upper hand. That is not so, and Christ’s death on the cross is proof. Simply have a crucifix to gaze upon in our homes is a reminder of this, and a way to strengthen us for battle. The traditional hymn, Lift High the Cross tells us: Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod, our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred Name.
If you’ve never had a crucifix in your home, consider getting one. Ask your priest to bless it (it only takes a moment!) If you do have a crucifix, consider putting more in your home: in the bedrooms, for example. The crucifix ix a sign of God’s overwhelming love for us; who doesn’t need a constant reminder of that?