Caffeinated Conversion Conversations

A week or so ago, recalling my first days exploring the Catholic Church, I remembered with amusement how many people showed up out of the woodwork in a spontaneous and competitive effort to inhibit my latest act of extremism. Each sought (with every pure intent) to stabilize my faith upon their particular theologies. Lutheran, Calvinist, Nondenominational, Bible Church Fundamentalists, Sedevacantists, Society of St. Pius X Catholic schismatics, and Roman Catholics loaned me stacks of books, bought me lunch, coffee, invited me to dinner and to church.

Eventually, however, they all lost interest or motivation to continue their evangelical efforts and, out of sight, out of mind, I slipped quietly and inconspicuously into the Catholic Church.

Remembering these early efforts, I posted the following on FaceBook:

If you are exploring the Catholic Church, beware of these words: ‘hey, wanna meet for coffee?’
If you do hear such words from someone, grab a Bible, a
Catechism, and a Rosary and hold on tight.”

I was informed the next day that some Protestants found this statement to be hurtful and offensive, as it seemed to imply conflict and defensiveness. Not that conflict and apologetical discourse between Catholics and Protestants is a new development…

But as they are particularly dear to me, I was finally compelled to expound and clarify.

 

To anyone who was offended by my “Coffee” comment yesterday, please read on:
Anyone who knows me well knows me to be an advocate of open discussion. You should know that when I use the word “beware,” it in no way suggests that you should avoid such an opportunity to meet with someone who holds a private interpretation of Scripture. To the contrary, it implies an emphasis on preparation to explain the truths of the Catholic Faith in the face of opposing opinions.
St. Peter exhorts the faithful in his first epistle 3:13-17:

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.”

Now, let me be open about one thing: if there is one area in which I am constantly being reminded of a serious need for growth, it is humility, and thus, patience, the fruits of which are “gentleness and reverence.” Thus, after many a “discussion,” though I may have the Scripture, the Fathers, and 2000 years of Christian faith as my foundation, I have come away with a darkened conscience, frustrated by rejection, having lost sight of the real motive: the promises of Christ and His life, given to us to share with others. Rather, I vainly imagine that if my brother or sister would just study then the truth would be revealed to them. Thus I neglect the perfect will and plan of God, through which He reveals Truth in His time, not mine.
And so, standing ever corrected and always being turned to face myself, having been exposed by the light of the truth of the Gospel, I must acknowledge again my insufficiency to persuade, and the vast magnanimity of God’s plan. But dust in the wind am I. God grant that I may not be blown into the eyes of others to blind them from truth by my self-absorption.
That being said, with renewed conviction, allow me to restate the “Beware the Coffee” comment:
1. Grab your Bible, for it is the written word of God, and as St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, “all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
2. Grab your Catechism, for in it is fulfilled the promise of Christ to the Church as recorded in John 16:13, “when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
3. And grab your Rosary, in obedience to St. Paul in Philippians 4:8, “finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Perhaps if you take particular note of #3, you will be refreshed in your mind and renewed in your heart so that you will not be tempted to stumble into the same hole which I have on so many occasions.

Pax tecum,
Nate Harris

 

P.S. Oh! And “hold on tight.” Well…

“So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.”
Ephesians 4:4-6 & 14

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The Protestant Obligation to Evangelize Catholics

Seven years ago, I found myself praying desperately for my new friends – more than twenty of them were in serious trouble, and blinded from the truth of salvation. Someone needed to reach them; to share with them the Gospel of salvation!

Two years later, I was kneeling at the high alter of a little Catholic chapel in Spring, Texas, reciting by memory, and with all my heart, the Apostle’s Creed. The “Whore of Babylon” had finally seduced me.

Back then, I was the one saying these things. Now, my protestant friends and family continue to say it to me:

“The Catholic Church is apostate.”

“The Catholic Church is pagan!”

“The Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon from Revelation!”

“The Catholic Church worships Mary.”

“Catholics worship idols!”

“The Catholic Church rejects the Bible!”

“The Pope is the Antichrist!”

“The Catholic Church murdered Protestants!”

“Jesus says ‘you shall know them by their fruit.’ The Catholic Church bears no fruit!”

Yikes. What have I become? What have I embraced? What am I, if not lost: damned to eternal Hellfire?

And yet…the voices all stop there. Many love to accuse the Catholic Church, but very few care to expound, to explain, or in any way enlighten me or my brothers and sisters of our folly. Why?

Protestants can be found travelling around the world, sharing the Bible and ministering to the lost, meanwhile, millions of Americans – not to mention Catholics around the world – continue in this apostate faith right down the street from the your church! It is time to take action. Time to bring the light of Christ through the doors of these false temples, and show the devil and his priests that he has NO CLAIM to the precious souls of the 1.2 billion people kneeling in those pews before that piece of bread!

But wait a minute: you must first prepare.

takethis

Before you do this, you need to know what you are up against. These poor people are not just ignorant, but brainwashed. They still believe that the Church was faithful as far back as the second century! They know about the writings of Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr, the Didache and other non-biblical teachings.

And then there is the Catechism, full of beliefs that you will need to know how to refute. You cannot simply show them John 3:16 and expect them to be safe. If you leave them uncertain of the rest of the Catholic claims, other Catholics will explain to them why you were wrong, and your work will all be in vain. You must cut at the root. It’s like what Jesus said in Matthew 12:43-45:

43“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

FULL STOP

But I warn you: do not make the statements listed at the beginning of this post until you know what Catholics believe and why. To accuse without just cause or full and proper understanding is slander, which is a violation of the 8th Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

Therefore, as St. Paul exhorts us, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Heed Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who utters slander is a fool.”

And be obedient to St. Peter’s command, “So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

My Protestant brothers and sisters: before accusing the Catholic Church of apostasy and fruitlessness, know the history; Before you accuse her of rejecting the Scripture and ignoring the teachings of Christ Jesus and his Apostles, know the Scriptures; And before you speak, I beseech you, know first, what Catholics actually profess. And that doesn’t just apply to one Catholic here or there, for as Catholics, we are not to be seen as separate or holding differing beliefs: but what our mother, the Church professes, that we believe. For together we all profess “one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Do not, however, shrink from the challenge, or become apathetic, making excuses for why you are not reaching out to those you believe are lost.

Therefore, this is why I evangelize: if what I believe is true (and that, it most certainly is), then I need to be active. Because until the day I die, there will be a soul in need of the light of God’s truth. So I can never cease to do all I can to guide the lost into the loving arms of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Amen.

Pax tecum,

DH

Response to a Southern Baptist: Scriptural Basis for Confession to a Priest

I recently shared Angelo Stagnaro’s article, Indulgences are a Part of God’s Plan of Salvation, on Facebook and was thrilled when, a couple days later, I received a message from my good friend and staunch Southern Baptist seminarian containing a 10-point rebuttal – including Scripture references!

So with no further ado, I present his first point (in blue), and my rebuttal, below. All Scriptures are RSVCE.

On Repentance and Confession to a Priest

Southern Baptist:

“Jesus is our Great High Priest and the only one we must confess our sins to. While having someone to confess our sins to (a priest) is great, it’s not a requirement and is definitely not the way anyone is reconciled to God. To be reconciled, we repent of our sins (ask forgiveness and turn away from them) to God and trust in Him (Mark 1:14-15, Luke 24:46-48, Acts 3:19, Acts 11:18, Acts 20:21). He is the only way that the nail is removed and the hole mended. No one else.”

Catholic Response:

“Jesus is indeed the high priest, and as such, he has ordained from among men ministers of his grace and arbiters of His authority. This is clearly established in Matthew 16:13-19, 18:15-18, Luke 24:44-49, and John 20:19-23.
On the other hand, none of the verses you provided actually contradict confession to a priest in the sacrament of reconciliation (self-examination/confession/penance), rather, they affirm what we know to be necessary – the we repent of our sins. In fact, let’s begin with the scripture that you provided, Luke 24:46-48, which states that repentance and forgiveness of sins (reconciliation) was to be preached (ministered) to all nations.

46 And said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

And so regarding this as the ministry of reconciliation that St. Paul later refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:18-20:

18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation19 that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

we are compelled to look to John 20:21-23, in which the disciples, now the apostles, exclusively are given the authority from God to forgive sins.

21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Can we consider this to be a light matter? In the Gospels we understand that, in the eyes of a Jew, such a thing would be blasphemous to even suggest, as demonstrated in Luke 5:20-21:

20 And when he [Jesus] saw their faith he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?

And yet God, Christ Jesus, then ordains his ministers and vests in them that divine authority.

The rest of the verses you provided come closer to affirming the authority of the apostles to forgive sins and the practice of doing so as well. In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus has begun his ministry, preaching repentance.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”

However, if we go to the John 4:1-2, we see that the disciples were actually the ones baptizing the penitents, not Jesus.

1 Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples)

Note that it is specifically pointed out that Jesus (through the disciples) was baptizing more people than St. John the Baptist, who preached “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and heard the peoples’ confessions and baptized them (Matthew 3:1-2 & 6).

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan…
 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now, this is especially important, noting that even John the Baptist did not have authority to forgive or withhold forgiveness for sins, which was not given to any man until much later in Christ’s ministry when he exclusively ordained the disciples, making them apostles.
Acts 3:19, furthermore, is St. Peter preaching: one who is not only one of the ordained, but more notably the Prince of Apostles and head of the Church.

19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

This passage would sooner affirm St. Peter’s authority to forgive sins than the alternative. In these occasions, St. Peter is fulfilling the Great Commission and exercising the authority given him by Jesus, including baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and forgiveness of those sins through the power of God. Notice also that in Acts 10: 1-5, the household of Cornelius was not reconciled to God, despite his prayers and devotion until verse 48after St. Peter was brought to him by the Holy Spirit.

1 At Caesare′a there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, 2 a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” 4 And he stared at him in terror, and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and bring one Simon who is called Peter

The angel specifies the necessity to send for St. Peter: he does not declare that Cornelius’ sins have been forgiven.
And lastly, Acts 20:21 addresses finally who we repent to: God, namely.

20 I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Paul could even be understood in this verse as testifying to the ministry of reconciliation by his own actions, that is to say, absolving penitent Jews and Greeks of their sins! But it would be a twist and a stretch to say that he was dismantling the apostolic Ministry of Reconciliation.

Furthermore, it cannot be suggested that to confess one’s sins to the Apostles or even to John the Baptist or their successors today is not the act of confessing to God, considering that the very authority to forgive sins was given directly to them by God Himself! They have been vested with such authority to forgive, as we say, in persona Christi, that is, in the person of Christ. To say that we need not confess our sins to an apostolic minister, however, directly opposes the two scriptures that clearly provide us a method of confessing our sins.

Matthew 18:15-18

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:19-23.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

So in conclusion, based on Scripture, we can see that not only do we truly confess all our sins to God when it is through his ordained ministers, but to argue that we need not confess to “anyone else” is actually, in itself, non-scriptural.

A Letter to a Catechumen on The Eucharist and Worthy Reception

Dear searcher,

There is a lot of theology to explain why you and I did not receive the Body of our Lord at Mass this Sunday (I, like yourself, only got a blessing today, because I have sin right now that I must first confess). The following overview should, I pray, explain in a simple way why, since the early Church, those who have not confessed their sins to the priest and received absolution ought to refrain from receiving the Lord’s body, and how refraining while unworthy is an act of love for our Lord.

First of all: let us not, through a modernist and rationalist “wisdom,” that is to say, our own foolishness, reason around the words of Jesus our Lord. This faith is a religion in which the spirit and the material meet and are sanctified by Christ Jesus: so while he says on many other occasions and in other words this same thing, the fundamental truth, put plainly, is this promise:

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “THIS IS MY BODY which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:22

However, to receive of this blessing and unity with our Lord, St. Paul gives us a very stern warning:

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.
Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

1 Corinthians 11:27-29

So let us become informed of what we must do to worthily prepare ourselves to receive Him. The early Church understood what Paul expected, and documented it: we must confess our sins to His ordained minister, who has been given this authority to absolve us from our sins, if we are contrite:

“Jesus said to them again “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 20:21-23

And so we must remember that we are not entitled to receive His body at all in the first place, except by His grace. But certainly not only by virtue of faith, but by His forgiveness through absolution of our sins as administered by the ordained minister of reconciliation. This is what St. Paul refers to:

“That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

2 Corinthians 5:19-20

So once we have made our profession of belief in the One Catholic Faith and rejected the erroneous doctrines of rebellious schisms and separations:

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.”

Ephesians 4:4-6 & 14

We can then make our confession, receive absolution with thanksgiving and love, and in the state of grace, made worthy, receive the Body of our crucified Lord.

And so the early church fathers and disciples of the Apostles, ordained by them to carry on these ministries, attest to this in many declarations, but the two below are some of the most blatant:

The Didache, also known as The Teachings of the Apostles, is one of the oldest church documents (c. AD 50) and says the following:

“In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life…but every Lord’s day, gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.”

Didache 4,14

These Church fathers expound further:

“Yet most men either shun this work, as a public exposure of themselves, or else defer it from day to day. I presume [they are] more mindful of modesty than salvation; just like men who, having contracted some malady in the more private parts of the body, avoid the probing of physicians, and so perish of their own bashfulness.”

Tertullian, Repentance 10 (AD 203)

“In addition to these, there is also a seventh [remission of sins], but it is hard and laborious. The remission of sinners through penance when the sinner washes his pillow in tears, when his tears are his nourishment day and night. And when he does not shrink from declaring his sins to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine.”

Origen of Alexandria, Homilies on Leviticus 2:4 (c. AD 249)

In a world where we pride ourselves on our ‘independence’ and freedom of thought, it is easy to lose our awareness of the Objective Truths of God, including this “foolish” (in the eyes of man) belief in the real Body and Blood of Christ.

Let this bear witness to the truth: many have not only defended this belief passionately with words, such as St. Paul, St. Justin Martyr, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus of Lyon, and others.

Furthermore, some have defended it with their lives, even in this modern age. During the boxer rebellion, for example, a young girl was beaten to death when she was found secretly receiving our Lord’s body.

Even as recently as the last few years a seminarian in Iraq put his life on the line to save the Eucharist from desecration. Before fleeing his hometown, which was about to be invaded by ISIS, he hurried into the church and removed the precious Body from the tabernacle to protect it from abuse and sacrilege which is done to it when ISIS finds it. Story: ISIS-affiliate group desecrates Filipino church, desecrates the Eucharist

Truly, the forces of evil recognize its sanctity. Even Satanists have been known on occasion to try to pocket the Eucharist and take it to a “black mass” to be mocked and desecrated in unspeakable ways. For this reason, as well as for the spiritual health of those who have not yet professed their Catholic faith, the Church carefully guards His Body and reserves it, as He did, for those who are born again in baptism and consecrated to him, professing the Catholic Faith.

And ultimately, that’s what it comes down to: the reception of the Body and Blood of our Lord at Holy Mass is one’s ultimate profession of the Catholic Faith. “First Communion” is a precious, precious day for Catholics, which we celebrate and remember, but for which all of us have to wait. It is the moment at which our relationship with Christ is consummated, as He gives us His Body, and we reciprocate with our bodies and our lives, offering them as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2), so that like our Blessed Mother, Mary, we may say, “be it done unto me according to thy WORD,” (Luke 1:38) and conceive within our hearts the fruits of His Spirit, alleluia, alleluia, amen!

Let us not, therefore, approach our Lord’s Body casually or with entitlement, but with humility and thanksgiving.

And lastly, do not hurry to receive your first communion. Savor the craving, cherish the desire. Like a young lover, wait patiently for the day of the consummation of your Love for our Lord. It is WELL worth the wait.

In Christ,

DH

 

 

He Who Swears by the Altar

“And you say, ‘If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?” – Matthew 23:18-19 RSVCE

I was recently reading an article on ChurchPOP pertaining to the profound significance of the Baptism of Jesus, which, in short, explains that while baptism washes away our sins, the sanctifying power of the baptismal waters is a result of that mysterious moment in which He who was without sin sanctified them by his otherwise uncalled-for baptism.
Christ Jesus sanctifies that with which He comes in contact, a miracle which we find to be true in the process of our own sanctification by repentance and baptism, through which the Holy Spirit of God enters into us and makes what was impure now holy and consecrated.

This brought to my mind an issue that I have contemplated ever since I gave up my iconoclasm:

the cross versus the crucifix.

Since I began my move to join the Catholic Church and came to grips with and attained a proper understanding of the question of “graven images” I have begun to find myself gradually swinging towards the directly opposing viewpoint: why remove Christ’s body from the cross? Most protestants, as I was, will answer in one of two ways: either “he isn’t up there anymore,” or go for the classic “thou shalt not make a graven image.” Once upon a time, I would have used both.

However, the idea that Christ sanctifies that with which he comes in contact revolutionizes everything: we know that without the Spirit of God within us, we would be hopelessly lost; that without His baptism, ours would avail to nothing, and that without the Sacred Words of the Consecration, as Dr. Peter Kreeft shrewdly put it, we Catholics would “not only be idolaters, but the stupidest idolaters in history…bowing down to bread, and worshiping wine, thinking that it’s Almighty God.”

In Matthew 23:18-19, during Jesus’ rebuke of the Scribes and Pharisees on the temple steps, He calls them out for their disordered understanding of the sanctifying powers of the temple altar, saying “which is greater? The gift or the altar which makes the gift sacred?”
But once again, in His death Jesus flips the Old Covenant on its head, Himself becoming the Priest, the Victim, and the Altar, that which makes the cross sacred! Likewise, he flips the cross itself from a symbol of violent condemnation to a symbol of violent salvation: He has sanctified those things he has chosen to use!

So in conclusion, while as a Christian I may be reminded of what the symbol of the cross can mean to me, I find myself in a position where, on its own, the cross becomes bland and meaningless in contrast to the image of a crucifix, a true depiction of the sanctifying act of redemption suffered by Christ upon that cross for the sake of those who “believe and are baptized” (Mark 16:16), and will “take up their cross” and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24)

This is not to say that our veneration and attachment to the symbol of the cross is to be seen in any way as meaningless – after all, we each have our own crosses to carry!

 

However, it remains that without that precious body, the cross would have remained to this day nothing more than an instrument of slow torture and death.

Crucifix

 

Further reading (from Bishop Robert Barron’s Word On Fire blog):

“In Defense of The Crucifix” by Matt Nelson

“Christianity Without the Crucifixion is not Christianity” by David Stavarz