Images of Christ


There was some discussion in the comboxes about the preferred  images of Our Lord. Some people favor a resurrected Lord, others the crucifix, still others the empty cross which carries both meanings.

One person said that images of the resurrected Lord were more predominant in the early church than crucifixes. If they mean an image like the one above, this is incorrect.
Neither the crucifix, nor images of the resurrected Lord like the one pictured here were known in the early church.  This article  is very informative, and reminds us that the earliest Christian images were the ICTHUS fish and the ChiRho symbol, while the earliest images of Jesus portrayed him as the Good Shepherd, or the Lamb of God. This eventually was overtaken by images of Christ Pantocrator. The glorified, King of Glory is certainly older than representations of the crucified Lord.
Remember, for the first few hundred years, the image of a crucified Lord would have been abhorrent. This was still the common method of brutal capital punishment. Using it as a symbol of worship (even though the early Christians honored the cross) would have been unthinkable.
This article tells us that the first crucifix as an image for worship dates from the fifth century. It gives a very good summary outline of the historical development of the crucifix as a Christian religious image, and how its development reflects theological understandings.
The image of the resurrected Lord on the cross shown above however, is a very modern innovation, and the empty cross on its own as a Christian symbol was unheard of before the Protestant Reformation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    I suppose I mis-spoke to imply that the Resurrected Christ crucifix is indicative of the early church. The Resurrected Christ is a lot harder to render than a crucified Christ or just a cross. I imagine it would have been hard for persecuted Christians to do much more than draw fish and chi-rho in the sand.Be that as it may, symbols of the resurrection were more common in the early church than symbols celebrating the suffering of Christ. I stand by my comment that the image of Christ suffering is disproportionate in the modern and medieval church relative to the early church. If you want to be primitive or in touch with the early church, it seems to me that a ressurection emphasis isn’t a bad idea. The passion and suffering of our Lord, and his relation to us as fully man in that moment are important. But there are so many other important moments. His ministry, the sermon on the mount, his parables, his teachings, and his actual conquering of death and sending of the Holy Spirit. It’s not so much that I am against the corpus suffering on the cross, as I am overwhelmed by its ubiquitousness and stations of the cross in every parish. It wasn’t that long ago that catholics conceived of an angry and unnaproachable Jesus – an outlook that has changed for the better. I’ve taken the suffering cross down in my home and replaced it with what I consider to be art that is reflective of Christ’s reality as our resurrected Lord, not momentos of his suffering which I am inundated with in every church. Finally, I think your parallel with a more modern execution method is appropriate. Obsessing over a cross is akin to obsessing over a gas chamber, electric chair, or lethal injection table. There was something grotesque about that to the early church, and perhaps even now. It’s like that weird strain of pro-lifer that has pictures of dead fetus’s laying around. It’s unhealthy and morbid. In our time, I think the Holy Spirit calls us to reflect on the suffering to help keep us in touch with the message. But it can be over done. Christ has Risen! We should worship God in trinity as he is in reality – alive and risen. His passion roughly 2000 years ago is important, and connects us with his humanity (and mankind’s flaws) but there are plenty of other moments in the scriptures that instruct us of that as well.Wasn’t there a wise man that said something to the effect that ‘dieing is easy, it’s living well that is hard’? I currently feel like Christ’s mortal life and eternal life are more important for me to reflect on and adorn my walls with at the moment than his passion. That doesn’t mean I want to dictate what others reflect on or that I would agree with James that those who feel otherwise are masochists or mistaken. But I can empathize with his perspective on that particular issue.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    So what do you make of the Mass–the central act of Catholic worship is a re-presentation of the crucifixion of Christ. Is that also a morbid symbol?It is true that the crucifix is central to Catholics, but St Paul said about the Eucharist that in this way we ‘proclaim Christ’s death until he comes again.’ Likewise he said, “We preach Christ crucified.” The crucifixion was central not only to St Paul’s preaching, but also his life: “I am crucified with Christ” and “For me to live is Christ. To die is gain”Finally, while the crucifix is a central image, it is not the sole image. Most churches have prominent representations of the resurrection, and most have Catholics have prominent images of the resurrected Lord in the form of the Sacred Heart or the Divine Mercy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17027978462507701844 J A F

    Why did the Protestants take Jesus off the Cross?Christ’s “physical suffering was of little consequence,” according to the heretics of the Reformation.Found this on the Web:Luther’s and Calvin’s theory of the atonement held that Christ’s physical suffering was incidental. The real suffering, they claimed, came from a spiritual punishment which began in the Garden of Gethsemane and ended up as the equivalent of an eternity in hell. The reason? Luther and Calvin believed Christ’s passion was a legal payment for sin, otherwise known as “penal substitution.” Since Protestant theology believes salvation is forensic, then the atonement must be a legal transaction. Hence, as God requires the legal payment of eternal damnation for sin, Christ had to undergo its legal equivalent, while his physical suffering was of little consequence.http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/articles/christiology/gibson-atonement3.htm

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07637491041886997999 MAB

    I believe the Church requires that a Crucifix (with crucified corpus) be in the sanctuary during the Mass. Maybe in the GIRM?Also, I do believe that an empty cross is legitimately used by bishops on the crosier. They themselves are supposed to take the place of the corpus, offering their lives for Christ.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    The main cross that hangs in our parish church is pretty much identical to the one you picture at the top of the post. I can`t tell you how ridiculous it looks. He didn`t rise off a cross, He rose from a tomb. He could have foregone the cross and I`m certain He could have risen from the cross, but He didn`t. In fact John tells us that: when I am lifted up from the earth ( i.e. crucified on that cross) I will draw all men to myself. It`s a basic symbol that speaks of our salvation and is a powerful witness. And we need to see it. Out shopping recently, I was looking in the window of a jewellers for a present. Two teenage girls were looking at the same time. They seemed to be loking for a cross and chain and the conversation went like this:”What do you think of that one ? It`s a nice shape””Not sure. I`d like it bigger. Oh No! look here at this one, Debs – this one’s got a little man on it. Oh my God !””Oh yeah ! That is well strange.”People need to see the signs and symbols of their salvation. No resurrection without a crucifixion. No healing without suffering. It`s all connected to this obsession with wanting to look the other way and to deny ourselves or anyone else any kind of suffering.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Bernadette: It’s about logo, symbology. You can’t hang a symbol of an empty cave very easily. How do you create a symbol of the resurrection? Take out a pen and paper and try it. The Risen Christ crucifix is about the best we’ve got.mab: Thank God the church requires the crucifix in a central location or who knows what some crazy priest would hang up in its place.JAF: I’m not saying that Christ’s suffering is not important. It is an important element of salvation, it shows Christ fully man and is a deeply important part of salvation. The very fact that I disagree with Luther’s atonement theology is probably a big part of the reason I think the passion and death is a bit over emphasized.Fr L, I agree with what St. Paul says, but with a little effort could we not find plenty of quotes that we proclaim the risen lord? I think that the resurrection is much harder to depict as it indicates absence of a body – an empty tomb, an empty cross, a man with wounds. I love the image of Christ with one foot in the tomb having just conquered death, and one foot out, carrying the flag of salvation – but it took master painters to create that who aren’t with us now. I absolutely love all of that art and its presence in stained glass. I would submit to you that this is fair game as a matter of emphasis in personal and even public devotion. Yes Christ was fully man, suffered and died just as we do. But the important thing was that it didn’t end there! Christ conquered death, and through him, so will we! Is the Eucharistic feast of dead or living flesh? It is Christ the living, risen God is it not? Christ’s current state is living and risen, he was only ‘dead’ for 3 days out of the last ~2000 years; and how can we really be sure that the word ‘dead’ is accurate for that three days? How long was he on that cross? I would humbly submit to you that the Risen Christ symbol may be the more accurate one if we want to worship Christ as he is.I don’t agree with Luther’s penal subsitution theories. I certainly don’t think we should condemn the risen christ crucifix as being some mamby-pamby catholic-light icon. All that being said, i would never advocate that we run about taking crucifixes out of churches or people’s homes and replacing them with Risen ones. But I can empathize with some of James’s comments and I personally feel that the Risen Christ crucifix could get a little more love.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Bernadette, your overheard conversation resembles a dialogue in a story I recently wrote, “Old Music”:[in reference to the church's new crucifix, a brushed aluminum cross surmounted by a smiling ceramic Jesus with upraised hands] Beverly said, “Oh, I just love it. It’s so much happier than all that…” and she made a little dismissive flapping gesture with her hand. And young Father Smart— gave her his tiny little satisfied smile.Horrified by her own audacity, she found herself responding, “But that pretty Jesus didn’t save your soul from hell.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    In fact, much of this discussion is a red herring.The Pascal Mystery is not a question of cross or empty tomb, crucified or risen Lord. The Pascal Mystery is a unity. The Cross and Empty Tomb are part of the whole event.During Holy Week we call the sacred three days the Triduum because the three days are one whole drama. Cross, tomb and resurrection are one mystery.The Eucharist is a re-presentation of the whole mystery, and a crucifix shows it all. It reminds us of the sacrifice of Christ, but every Christian also realizes that Jesus didn’t stay there. He rose again.Happily most churches (at least traditional churches) feature both crucifixes and images of the risen Lord, the Lord in glory, the sacred heart and the divine mercy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    Marcus I know you can`t hang a symbol of an empty cave very easily. Er.. why would you want to ? Let`s re-invent the wheel while we`re at it. We already have the crucfix. The more excruciating to look at, the better. Some are far too sanitized. A proper crucifix should make us all stop in our tracks and head for the nearest confessional.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Estiel,The risen, pretty Jesus is the one that exists right now and does indeed save your soul from hell.Fr. L – Of course you are right. All of this combines into the Paschal mystery. But I think there is an issue of emphasis. In our spiritual development we go through various stages where one particular emphasis or another becomes extremely important to us in our spiritual growth. Estiel demonstrates the type of ‘only one emphasis is correct’ that I would argue with. The image of Christ risen, for Estiel, is a false, misleading image fit only for liberals and heretics. It is too ‘pretty’ for her.I would submit that that is a very flawed attitude. Christ has in fact risen and is currently saving souls as the risen lord, at the right hand of the father, sending forth the Holy Spirit. This is a fact. Christ is not crucified and suffering in heaven. He has risen and ascended. He is not Luther’s whipping boy in an eternal guantanamo bay stress position.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    BUT – He didn`t fall asleep and die a natural death – He was brutally murdered so that we could indeed be free. Let`s make that connection in claiming our freedom. The cross is where it`s at. If I had to sum Christian theology to an alien, I`d simply point to the cross. It`s all you need to know. Everything ulitmately leads to it and from it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12594214770417497135 Maureen

    Actually, there’s at least one image of the crucified Christ from the second century — some kind of gem carving found in Romania — and one from the third century found at Iruna Veleia — a red potsherd on which is scratched a crude representation of what looks like Christ (labeled Chris) between the two thieves. Of course, it could just be _a_ crucifixion, but that seems an odd thing to draw.http://terraeantiqvae.blogia.com/2006/060801-alava.-iruna-veleia-desentierra-jeroglificos-y-grafias-en-latin-de-la-historia-d.phpThe place is a treasurehouse. They also found the oldest non-onomastic (not just names) Basque inscriptions known, stuff written in Egyptian (apparently for teaching somebody how to write that language), and a bunch of other cool things, like little sketches of a house and trees.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Huh? Pointing to an image of a tortured homosapien does not summarize our faith at all for an alien. The alien would think you were a sadist. I would hand the alien a copy of the sermon on the mount; or better yet the NT.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12594214770417497135 Maureen

    I should say that the Iruna Veleia graffiti is a bit controversial at the moment, so maybe not the best example.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10238047551938890516 Alphonsus Rodriguez

    The Baltimore Catechism poses this question: “Which are the chief effects of the Redemption?” The answer given is this: “The chief effects of the Redemption are two: The satisfaction of God’s justice by Christ’s sufferings and death, and the gaining of grace for men.” The new universal catechism has this: ” Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father” (615) Perhaps Fr. Longenecker can clarify, but this sounds like “penal substitution” to me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    As I understand it, the Catholic Church does not reject penal substitution as a model for the atonement. It reject is as the only model. What happened on the cross remains a mystery. Different models or explanations of the atonement all serve as partial explanations, and when taken together help to fill in the picture.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12594214770417497135 Maureen

    So I guess all those pictures of Lincoln in the act of getting shot don’t exist? And mean that people only think of him as getting shot and not of freeing the slaves? And I guess I imagined all those pictures of General Wolfe conking out at the Battle of Quebec, too. Or Washington’s deathbed. Or Lord Nelson, for goodness sake!Dying and suffering are dramatic actions, well suited for the portrayal of heroes doing heroic things. If the climax of someone’s life, the victory of someone’s cause, are achieved by someone’s death — you darned well show that death. A lot.Now, I will agree that there are also pictures of Washington in heaven, Nelson in heaven, General Wolfe in heaven, Lincoln in heaven, and so forth. (Usually smiling approvingly and wearing Roman togas — possibly even enthroned and crowned with laurel.)Of course, it may also be argued that, when Christianity is most embattled, the subversive image of Jesus looking like a god, a philosopher, or an emperor is more attractive than Jesus looking beaten up and having the ultimate bad day. Logically, then, one would expect that Christians who know plenty of people not starving or enslaved are people who feel the need to remind themselves of Christ’s great suffering, or that they are not the only sufferers in a universally prosperous world.However, it’s a lot better to show the resurrected Jesus outside the cave, or chatting with Mary Magdalene, or appearing to the apostles or Thomas, or grilling fish, or ascending, or just plain in glory in Heaven. The resurrectifix produces cognitive dissonance, and also makes you worry about Jesus’ power to hover. Very Docetist.If you gotta have a clothed Jesus on a cross, it should be “Christ the High Priest” (Jesus Sacerdote). Much deeper symbolism. Crown to show He’s king, wounds to show he’s suffering, vestments to show that he’s the real priest. And no hovering.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04446241126728692642 niggle

    Christ’s “paying” for our sins was also the irreversible manifestation of God’s love. Luther didn’t get it wrong, he didn’t get it enough.The way our risen Lord Jesus Christ operates in Heaven is essentially by the same way He operated on the Cross, which is what the Eucharistic Mass re-enacts. The love that draws men to Himself, emptying Himself out to us. The cross of the suffering Christ is actually more close to how our Risen Lord operates in heaven than that sham resurrecifix, or whatever you call it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    He’s not so much hovering as he is ‘defeating’ sin and death death. If it was a gallows or a lethal injection table perhaps it would make more sense. He’s hovering over the cross because he has conquered it. Suffering isn’t to be savored in some masochistic way. We need to remember Christ suffered and was fully human, particularly when we suffer ourselves. But we also need to remember that he won in the end.My Risen Christ crucifix has Christ in royal robes, btw.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Niggle:Christ does not operate as a crucified person suffering for us. He operates by sending the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is not in eternal torment for us like some sort of pagan Prometheus figure. When he left us he said he would send the counseler, the Holy Spirit. He did not say he was going to heaven to be nailed back onto a cross.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Yes, M.Aurelius, but the most striking image we do have in Scripture of the glorified Lord is in Revelation 5 where he is seen as ‘the Lamb that was slain’, and the heavenly hosts worship ‘the lamb who was slain.’This would indicate that the crucified Lord is somehow venerated in heaven and that the crucified one reigns eternal in the heavens. As the hymn writers observed, his wounds have become glorious. His crown of thorns has become his crown of glory.His cross is not forgotten, but it has been transformed into his throne of glory.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16141414361291882691 Augustine

    One thing I know: it was His death on the cross that accomplished our salvation, I believe that by His last words on the cross.His resurrection throughout the Scriptures is described as the first fruits of our salvation. So, which one is more important to celebrate, the act through which our salvation came to be or its consequence?IMHO, this image is almost sacrilegious, trying to ignore His passion and death for our sins.Then again, I like very much the image of Jesus crucified wearing a royal attire.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    But what of my Prometheus analogy? Surely to imagine Christ permanently affixed to the cross is to confuse him with Promethus and deny that he conquered the cross, sin, and death.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02321618575119365254 Christopher Milton

    I feel like I’ve read somewhere that the moment of consecration allows us to escape time and be present at Christ’s crucifixion…. am I making this up?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Here’s an idea… Let’s design an animatronic Jesus who can writhe in pain while a centurion stabs at his side with a spear. Meanwhile a small pump can deliver a stream of life-like blood from his crown of thorns that will collect in a basin beneath Christ’s feet and circulate, providing an everlasting bloodbath of our Lord to properly commemorate his holy suffering.Or maybe I’ll just stick to my resurrection crucifix.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10372364893458254021 bernadette

    Oh dear. My alien thinks Marcus is the sadist.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Hey you guys are convincing me that it’s hypercritical to realistically portray christ suffering. With animatronix have the technology to add writhing and flowing blood, so we should add that. We could also add recorded moaning sounds, perhaps actual recordings from Gitmo stress positions. we can’t let catholics frolic about thinking that Christ only had to die once, or that he’s over the whole thing, or that he forgives mankind for it or anything like that. We need to really deeply wallow in the suffering, meditate on it, and think about how guilty we are for the the suffering of christ every time we take the Eucharist. We should punish our flesh, and think about how Christ is still on the cross, eternally in heaven, writhing in agony over our sins.I’m not sure if the flowing blood should be kind of viscous or more fluid though. I think if it is too fluid it’ll look too fake, but it will be easiery to pump.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Marcus, you need a DVD of Mel Gibson’s Passion movie…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02321618575119365254 Christopher Milton

    If you help with the blood spurting Jesus, I’ll help with a cuddly-everything-is-a-ok rocketship-Acension-Jesus. We can use LEDs in the wounds to make them shine with glory and use pyrotechnics to blow the roof open at lift off.We should probably attach a GPS device and parachute to ease with recovery though….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02321618575119365254 Christopher Milton

    Oh, and I don’t focus on the suffering when receiving the Eurcharist, I focus on the suffering when contemplating my continued sinful nature and how everytime I masturbate or fornicate or lie or steal or lust or murder I drive the nails into His hands and feet and the spear into His side.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14992682999803074563 little gidding

    In hoc signo vinces.It is not true, as the linked article says, that the image of the crucified Christ is “almost exclusively associated with Catholic Christianity,” for it is certainly present in Orthodox Christianity as well, and has been for centuries, e.g.:http://museum.doaks.org/Obj27006?sid=764&x;=75581&port;=2608#In addition, it is very clear from the writings of the early Church Fathers that people were making the sign of the cross upon themselves from very very early times.Marcus Aurelius conveniently replays many of the objections to the crucifix that the Protestant reformers made. So much for that.To me, the most important Pauline quote that reveals the centrality of the cross–besides “we preach Christ crucified”–is the one inserted, almost wondrously, I think, in the Easter vigil service. During that night of celebration, all us “resurrection people” get to hear Paul tell us–”Did you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were also baptized into his death?” Indeed, I think, some of us would like to forget that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Oh, and I don’t focus on the suffering when receiving the Eurcharist, I focus on the suffering when contemplating my continued sinful nature and how everytime I masturbate or fornicate or lie or steal or lust or murder I drive the nails into His hands and feet and the spear into His side.I know! It’s horrific how masturbating is just as bad a centurian spearing Jesus so deep in his heart that blood and water flowed from his side! It’s really important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that our sins, however insignificant, are basically the same as an act of torture and murder of an innocent! I think if the animatronix could include one centurion pounding the nails and the other centurian twisting a spear that would add a lot to a simple writhing motion and ever flowing blood. If then the priest could flick a switch so that the recorded Gitmo moaning could ocassionally be augmented with the recorded voice of Mel Gibson saying ‘Eli Eli lama sabachthani?‘ and ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do’, (but in Latin) it’d be just about perfect. Are you with me brothers!?!Little Gidding;You can’t dismiss every idea that the prots have ever had. The bible in vernacular, for example, was a good idea. Or a necessary idea, howevery you wish to view it.Rome has not banned the Risen Christ crucifix because to do so would be foolish. And I have not argued here that the suffering Christ crucifix ought to be banned. I said I think it is sometimes over emphasized and I have a risen one in my home. After which I’ve been accused of heresy, protestantism, and harboring a ‘sham crucifix’. But enough of that. You all have convinced me. Only a suffering crucifix is proper and we need to really think deeply about it non-stop, 24-7. It is the only aspect of the paschal mystery worth pondering, regardless of where we each are in our spiritual journey. The only question is; can I fit a third centurion scourging Jesus at the same time as the other two? Or is that too much? I mean, the scourging, stabbing, and nailing were all at different points in time and we want our suffering Jesus to really be an eternal symbol. Just as the Christophers of the world masturbating stab a spear through Jesus, throughout eternity, world without end, we need to really eternalize the suffering lest we forget. I’m sure Jesus hasn’t forgiven us of this. We need to be ever-sorry for what those Romans did! (Especially if we slip and masturbate). The other day my toddler masturbated. I screamed ‘Get that spear out of Jesus!’ and took her toys away for two months. Once I have this crucifix what should I do with my Risen one? Is it OK to throw it away? I mean, it’s a mamby-pamby, wimpy, spirit-of-VII liberal panzy resurrection symbol! No pain, no gain! How ’bout I drench it in blood and drill a screw through its heart to suffer it up a bit?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04446241126728692642 niggle

    Tradition, or legend, has it, that Mary, mother of Jesus, did the stations of the cross every single day, starting from the original Good Friday.There are people, you know, who happen to see Christ’s love when they gaze at the suffering crucifix, or meditate on His scourges and other sufferings.The sweetness with which Jesus endured His sufferings is uhm, worth thinking about more than a few times. What’s up with the Hollywood-guilt-in-the-dark-confessional-while-whipping-oneself thing?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Niggle:I just wanted to illustrate one extreme. I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with the traditional crucifix or seeing love in Christ’s suffering for us on the cross. But I was a bit taken aback by people’s response to the risen christ crucifix. I must confess, the ‘hovering’ observation does change my outlook on it a bit, but then, a resurrection icon need not be nailed down.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    My goodness, what a lot of comments were generated by this topic. But I think many were generated in response to Marcus’ objections to the crucifix. Just one more, maybe:The crucifixion is a fact of history. What Fr calls a resurrectifix (or something like that) is an imaginative representation of resurrection superimposed on a symbolic geometric cross. Protestants rejected the crucifix primarily because, in rejecting the Catholic “communion of saints”, they engaged in the iconoclastic (this is history again) destruction of all statues of Mary, saints, etc.–and crucifixes. Not because they rejected visions of Christ suffering, but because of their need for consistency. The resurrectifix is rather like their occasional “Lord’s supper” thing they do with grape juice and crackers. It’s a manifestation of a deep need for sacrementals, for “Catholic stuff”, and a way they’ve devised to try to get said stuff while still rejecting the Church. That thing is a “pretty” Protestant imaginative symbol. It is not a “crucifix”, which, by definition, depicts a crucifixion. And yes, it was Christ’s suffering and death that saved us, which is his incarnation into humanity, not his resurrection and ascension. It was love that caused his incarnation; that love saved our souls. He did not resurrect because of love, but because of his divinity. And yes, meditation on the crucifix causes mea culpa; therein lies it spiritual power.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    LoL – let me now when you find a Risen Christ Crucifix behind a Baptist, Congregational, or Presbyterian church alter. I’ll send you $50 if you can find even one example of that. I really don’t mean this in a disrespectful way : If you think the risen christ crucifix is protestant, then you have no understanding of protestantism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    I don’t know why, Marcus, that I should have “no understanding of protestantism,” having spent 40 years as a protestant. No, protestants don’t hang such things behind the baptismal; that’s not where the image is. It’s on greeting cards, bookstore products and the like.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    Estiel,Your the one who said That thing is a “pretty” Protestant imaginative symbol and when you think more deeply about it, you know good and well that it has never adorned the business end of a protestant church. So you’ve edited it to protestant greeting cards, but I don’t buy that either and neither should you. The fact of the matter is that it is a very catholic symbol. But it is a strain of catholicism with an emphasis that you find distasteful. I humbly submit to you that the various different emphasis groups in the church, so long as they are not heretical, (and the resurrection is certainly not heretical) ought to be able to get along in harmony. I’m not saying you should get rid of your crucifix in favor of my resurrectifix, i am saying you ought to respect it and trying to explain where I am coming from. Though in doing so, i must admit I am being a bit hard on the traditional crucifix. i do own a traditional crucifix, but it doesn’t currently occupy the primary wall of my home. My church has normal curcifixes galore and not a single resurrection one. No worries. I and my parish are plenty traditional.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03188490976194311758 Ashley Weis

    Fr. D,I love this post. Really refreshing to hear from a Priest :)I did recently run across a picture of a very early crucifix. It was almost archaic. Almost looked like it was scratched into the cross.You can see it on this blog that I recently designed.http://regulafide.blogspot.com/Anyway, thank you for this very honest blog. Thank you for also stating the clear view of the CC in regards to the Death and Resurrection… all three days being part of one drama.Thanks again! I will continue to stop in!-g-

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06506671882770822003 Joe of St. Thérèse

    I have one problem with the Resrectrix…Was it not the bad thief that told Jesus to get down from the Cross? That is the first thing that comes to my mind when I see a Resurectrix

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01379244511897838006 Marcus Aurelius

    He’s already been taken off the cross and laid in a tomb, and then he rose again. He wasn’t nailed back onto a cross, and then taken up. So for me, it does not consitute a ‘bad thief’ scenario that alludes to a denial of Christ’s mission, or a temptatin of Christ to abort his mission. But if the Resurectrix tempts you to think along those lines then by all means, don’t purchase one, it’s not the right icon for you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08110491371985845560 kentuckyliz

    The non-corpus cross was in use by Catholics pre-Reformation; Carmelites and other orders use them, and it represents the cross that I am to carry. In fact, in some monasteries, the nuns/monks actually dragged around their own cross.I live in Appalachia, very Baptist and CoC and independent fundamentalist and even snake handling; so when I wear my crucifix pendant, people look at it uncomfortably. I just say, “You remember Minnie Pearl on Hee Haw, with the price tag hanging off her hat? This is my price tag. I’m bought and paid for.” Then they smile and get it.A blank cross, if not with the meaning as noted above (Carmelites carrying their own cross), then it means something horrid–a blank cross with no nails, no blood means Christ hasn’t been crucified yet and our salvation is not yet accomplished.On Good Friday and Christ the King Sunday, I place two icons in my prayer corner, side by side: Extreme Humility (Ecce Homo), the gory Christ crowned by his mockers, and Christ the King reigning in glory. Because both are true, simultaneously.The Gospels are mostly Passion narratives with a little bit of Jesus’ teachings attached. Most of the Gospels are taken up with the whole sordid story.The apostolic writers didn’t spend hardly any time describing Jesus’ many post Resurrection appearances or his Scripture teachings on the road to Emmaus–the greatest Bible study in history. If the Evangelists considered Jesus’ suffering and death to be so vastly important as a huge part of the story, well, so do I.Catholics do have images of the resurrected Christ–le Sacre Coeur, the Divine Mercy, Divino Nino, heck, even the Infant of Prague (wazzupwiddat). I love the icon of Christ Harrowing Hell–what a victory!, but it’s the icon of the Good Shepherd that I routinely give out as a message of comfort for those in sorrow and grief.What some fail to appreciate is that God exists outside of time, so the moment of Christ on the Cross is in the Eternal Now. It’s “done, finished, accomplished” in linear time within the creation, and outside of creation in the presence of God in the Eternal Now, everything happens all at once and so the infant Christ, the child Christ, the teaching Christ, the healing Christ, the Christ on trial, the suffering Christ, the dead Christ, the risen Christ–all exist simultaneously. What what did he command us to do for anamnesis–to make him present to us forever in our linear time? Key: “Do this in memory of me.” Every Mass is the whole Easter Triduum event.However, the whole meaning of the mystery of Christ in all his moments in linear time and beyond–Catholics meditate on this well in their lectionary cycle of readings, the prayers of the eucharistic liturgy, and even in devotions–such as the joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries of the Rosary that are prayed a couple of times each week. (For those who pray it–optional devotion.) Those of us who pray the Rosary stay well grounded in the whole Christ.When I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.It’s that moment!I love a gory Spanish crucifix.I also love the San Damiano crucifix of St Francis of Assisi, which is a much better Resurrexifix than the cheesy one shown here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08110491371985845560 kentuckyliz

    Oh and marcus–Longinus plunging a spear into the dead Christ’s side and christopher wanking are both the same:abusing a corpse!LOL


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