Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
February 25, 2008
Wearing the cross is a sign of love
The diamonds glitter and delight the television camera lens.
As the director in the control room orders the photographer to zoom in closer, we see the precious stone cross hanging from the model's neck.
"The cross is one of the season's favourite accessories," states a fashion maker and shaker.
Tiffany takes it a step further. They offer a gold cross on a 16-inch chain for $3,130 US. But in their written description, they call the cross a "charm."
As Easter approaches and we journey through Lent, the reality and power of the cross grows in our consciousness.
And this trivializing of the cross angers.
Why do people other than the expected – those in religious and/or celibate faith life – wear a cross?
At this point I can hear the words of the rabbi as we studied mishna – Jewish oral law.
"No one has the right to judge another's spiritual path. That is between them and God alone."
So is it judging someone when you wonder why they wear a cross and what it means to them?
Yes, would be the rabbi's answer.
But if asked to explain what the cross actually means, Catholic convert and journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge would tell them, "The cross is where history and life, legend and reality time and eternity intersect. There, Jesus is nailed forever to show us how God would become man and man become God."
Capuchin Padre Pio takes it to a personal level when he says, "In order to attract us, the Lord grants us many graces that we believe can easily obtain heaven for us. We do not know, however, that in order to grow, we need hard bread: the cross, humiliation, trials and denials."
And that marvelous Cardinal Sean O'Malley – another Capuchin – just tells it like it is with magnificent directness. Giving the homily at an investiture Mass in Boston, O'Malley said. "We must not allow the cross to be simply a piece of jewelry, an amulet or a decoration. The cross speaks to the believer. . . . The cross is a sign of transformation and redemption. It is a sign of love, and when Jesus invites us to take up the cross of discipleship, He is really asking us to live a life of sacrificial love."
Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton adds another dimension, saying, "To know the cross is to know that we are saved by the sufferings of Christ; more it is to know the love of Christ who underwent suffering and death in order to save us."
So if the profound meaning of the cross is understood and woven into the wearer's heart and soul, then who has the right to say they cannot wear this sign of their faith?
The British Broadcasting Corporation tried it on.
All of a sudden the mandate came down on high that newsreader Fiona Bruce should not wear her cross. No, it was not a glittering distraction – just a small, gold cross. Bruce has worn her cross for years.
The Daily Mail quite succinctly described the take-it-off edict as "yet another example of political correctness gone mad."
BBC editorial policy honcho Stephen Whittle explained, "A newsreader should not let themselves get in the way of a story by wearing things that makes the audience wonder about the newsreader's own position on the story."
After the brouhaha hit the press, BBC told Bruce she did not have to take off her cross.
Still, statements of faith are increasingly coming under fire. Example. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to turf the Lord's Prayer, saying, "I think it's time for us to ensure that we have a prayer that better reflects our diversity."
Yes, we are a diverse nation.
But if the fabric of Canada is to be strong, let each faith strand shine with its own spiritual validity. Don't try to silence or shut us out in the name of political correctness.
As New Testament scholar Amos Wilder observes, "The only shadow that the cross casts over history is one of shelter and asylum."
- Lasha Morningstar
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