“Behold the wood of the cross, on which is hung our salvation…”

The Church intently focuses on the cross during the Fridays in Lent. The cross is the sign of our salvation, a symbol of suffering, sacrifice and compassion, and an emblem of paradox and glory. Christ crucified, Saint Paul says, is the power and the wisdom of God. Christians have used crosses in many ways in prayer and worship — both publicly and privately. Three examples of different uses of the cross in prayer and worship crossed our desk recently.

The cross is always before us as it leads processions in the liturgy. Pray Tell regular Todd Flowerday called our attention to this new processional crucifix, by artist Jeremy Rudd, commissioned for Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ames, Iowa. We offer it here, with a link to his comments at Catholic Sensibility.

The cross is part of our shared devotional life. We have already posted Richard Giles’ fine reflection on the stations of the cross (here, in case you missed it). We thought you might also like to see the large stations recently erected in Rome (H/T Whispers in the Loggia). These stations were sculpted by Pasquale Nava and Giuseppe Allamprese from eleven tons of bronze, and following the Lenten season will be displayed permanently in the city of Coquimbo, Chile.

CNS photo

The cross may also be a touchstone for personal prayer. One might wear or carry an image of the cross as an aide to prayer anywhere and at any time. Catholic News Service brings us a story about a chaplet from Venezuela and imported to Sauk Centre, Minnesota, consisting of a cross on a knotted cord, worn around the neck. (Photo: Catholic News Service)


  1. Can’t tell if the corpus also is made of wood. That’s a very important consideration for me.

    1. It would take hours to explore the subject as it deserves. In brief: the wood of the Cross, to which the body of Incarnate God is conformed. The role of trees/wood as instrument of both the Fall and our Salvation, in both OT and NT. The multiple close parallels throughout Holy Scripture between men and trees. And, indispensably, the fact that our Savior was by trade a carpenter.

      So glad to hear that the crucifix is all-wood. A practice that should be encouraged, IMO.

      1. Without being enslaved to the principle, I tend to agree. But I should point out that Christ and the cross have been depicted in stone, metal, or with jewels in very appealing and traditional ways.

        In the parish to which I belonged as a grad student, we had a truly horrific reproduction of the Lord and the cross merged into one molded piece. The music director suggested we sing, “Behold, behold, the ceramic of the cross: on which is painted Jesus.”

  2. All native Iowa wood.

    The corpus was originally a naturally dark brown wood (don’t recall the tree, but I have the info at my office). It was stained with a patina that included iron, hence the near-black final result. Jeremy thought it would be a good complement to the iron work around the altar, and give an echo of the iron in our other processional cross (no corpus) that does utilize iron.

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