Analysing the Cross
From Dominic Sam, Port Elizabeth- I wish to add to the excellent article by Fr Ralph de Hahn, “The Cross and the Crucifix” (September 7).
The problem of pain has a symbol and the symbol is the cross. But why is the cross typical of the problem of suffering?
The cross is made up of two bars, one horizontal, the other vertical. The horizontal bar is the bar of death, because death is prone, prostrate, and flat. The vertical bar is the bar of life, for all life is upright. The crossing of one bar with the other signifies the contradiction of life and death, joy and sorrow, our will and God’s will.
As soon as we place our desires against God’s desires and God’s will, we form a cross.
If the cross is the symbol of the problem of pain and suffering, the crucifix is its solution. The difference between the cross and the crucifix is Christ. Once Our Lord mounts the cross, he reveals how pain can be transformed through love into a joyful sacrifice, how those who suffer with him may reign with him.
Our Lord does not deny pain. He faces it and shows that pain has a definite part to play in life.
The lesson of the crucifix is that pain is never to be isolated or separated from love. The crucifix does not mean pain; it means sacrifice.
When pain is divorced from love it makes a man worse, it makes him bitter.
Thus there is no love greater than the love of him who laid down his life for his friends.