The Catholic Cross

Since I was a new Christian I heard that we Protestants were better than Catholics. We were purported to have a personal relationship with Jesus, we relied on faith in Jesus, and we saw Jesus as resurrected.

Over time I’ve abandoned these prejudicial concepts. After being in the Protestant church for many years I realized this was all bigotry. It had no merit. The phrase “a personal relationship” was meaningless yet sounded high and mighty, the faith of the Protestant church is mostly unchallenged said faith and the idea that the Catholics had Jesus still hanging on the cross was a straw man. Yet I wonder.

I’ve thought more about the merit of the vision of Jesus crucified. It says so much. What an icon.

Our traditional view is that Jesus’ love for the Father propelled him to die for us to save us from Hell and unto Heaven. Through His work there is forgiveness and an impartation of His righteousness to believers. We celebrate this each communion; His body broken and His blood poured out.

I want to emphasize how he is the model. He lays His life down for sinners. When we see Jesus there on the cross we also see how we are to live. Not just crucified with him, not simply dead to sin and alive in Christ but we are emulators. We mimic His life.

When we see Him we see extreme devotion to the Father.  We see the fulfillment of the Law: The command of sacrificial love. Thus salvation is being like Him. We lay our life down for others. This is eternal life. This is the result of faith. This is what it means to know Him.

The promise of the resurrection is valuable and our goal. But our means is faith that takes us to the cross of self sacrifice for the world around us. This stands in contrast to the Christian man produced by the modern Christian gospel. He rests satisfied that it was all done on the cross and reclines waiting for his reward for accepting this dogma.

But I see Jesus on a cross. Those who love Him will live a life crucified: sacrificial love for sinners. This is clone to His life.

1 John 3:16-17 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? NIV

I have been crucified with Christ…I no longer live for myself but for Him…I now live as Jesus did.  This is eternal life.

 


9 thoughts on “The Catholic Cross

  1. We are to lay our lives down for the sinner as Christ did for us. We are to love them first as Christ loved us first. We lay our lives down for the undeserving as we were the undeserving.

  2. My grandmother was raised in Wisconsin, and married a seminary graduate. They were registered Nazarenes who attended the same church for over 20 years. Her neighbor was a spanish catholic woman. I never heard them talk about doctrine, but they were good friends the whole time I knew them. They traded cooking occasionally, and cards on Easter and Christmas.
    I have reflected on this, and on other occurrences in my life, and I have concluded that each side of the divide has merits and faults. Both the crucifix and the bare cross were meant to remind us of Christ, in whom we are one, not our political or intellectual differences. My first book mentor was C.S. Lewis, who almost literally straddled this controversy, being an Anglican. His introduction to ‘Mere Christianity’ reminded me that some things are common to all who confess Jesus as Lord. I do not say anymore ‘Christians and Catholics’; I say ‘Catholics and Protestants’ or just ‘Christians’, because as the LORD Himself said ‘…man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.’

  3. I recently met a committed Catholic person, and as a Protestant, I immediately had difficulty knowing if they were saved or born again, as we Protestants want to know. When we finally got on the same page with our different words that are used to describe the same things, in Catholic and Protestant land, I discovered that I had met a truly committed, laying his life down, church supporting real born again Catholic Christian, who left me feeling the gap between where they were and where I am in life with the Lord. He is way ahead of me. This coupled with the fact that I felt in my heart what the disciples who were on the road, when Jesus joined them, and they didn’t recognize Him, felt, his words burned in my heart. I had this experience with this Catholic person, they typed to me on email, and when I read their words, they burn in my spirit/heart. Something else began to become apparent, as well, and this was the image and character of Jesus was showing through this person. He lives and acts in a high degree of Love, all the time. When I asked for his secret, he was upset with me and told me he was a sinful person, and if he ever did or said anything that was good of that I felt was from God, I should thank GOD, not him, and told me that he knew he was a sinner, being saved, and all good coming through him was from the Lord, not from him.
    Funny you should mention cross, because I have purchased one, the catholic kind, with Jesus on it, and I now wear it. Of course expected comments are, pls take Jesus off the cross, he is resurrected now. My only reply to this is now, will be, ‘If you look closely you will see, it isn’t Jesus hanging there, because this is my cross, and thanks to my Catholic friend’s example, I have climbed aboard, and long for the effects of His character, and his image to begin to show in me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s