TSMSS & Question Answered!

I had a really tough time deciding which song to use this week: I had no less than 3 different ones rolling through my head.  I finally decided on this song by John Michael Talbot.  He is a Catholic musician who played in a rock band as a teenager.  His band opened for such groups as The Byrds, Pink Floyd, and The Grateful Dead.  He credits Janis Joplin with turning his life around.  His band was opening for her, and after watching her downing her alcohol, he went out on the stage after the audience left, and saw all of the bottles and drug paraphernalia littering the site.  He knew then that he wanted a different life for himself.  He didn't immediately turn to Catholicism, he researched, "experimented", and prayed.  He is not only a musician:  He has dedicated his life to monastic living, giving his earnings from his music back to the community he established, "The Brothers and Sisters of Charity".  Some of his songs are used during Mass.  This song is often used for Communion; it really touches my heart.

To join in, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders and link up!  You'll find some awesome, uplifting songs!

For some reason, a question that a friend asked me a long time ago has been on my mind this week:  Why do Catholics have crucifixes and not crosses?   At the time, I had no answer except to say that the crucifix reminds us of Jesus' sufferings.  She asked me if a cross wouldn't have the same effect as a crucifix. Today I have the answer, with the help of  Catholic Answers:  The crucifix represents, obviously, the crucifixion which occurred on Good Friday, which was when Jesus redeemed us.  The redemption did not occur on Easter Sunday.    If I'm not mistaken, the cross supposedly represents Easter, the Risen Lord.  One article I read by Karl Keating suggests that the empty cross does not symbolize Easter; Easter would be symbolized by an empty tomb.  Which leads to the question:  What does the empty cross symbolize?  Would it have to be Palm Sunday?  For a biblical reference, here's one:
"We for our part preach a crucified Christ; to the Jews indeed a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor 1:23–25).
Phil Thompson (who is associated with the Eastern Orthodox Church) said ,12.  "But there's still one more reason to show Christ on the cross: It's Christ we worship, not the Cross. Nobody salutes a flagpole when the flag is not flying! But when they see the flag on the pole, they venerate the flag, hand over heart, hat removed, in token of their respect for the country it represents. A cross without Christ on it is an empty flagpole."

 One last clip I found was from Mary Beth Kremski, who is a convert and 3rd order Carmelite, who had this to say:
"The Catholic Church celebrates Easter for 50 days—not including each Sunday of the year, which are seen as "little" Easters. The Mass never fails to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. And the Church’s daily prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, is filled with Scripture and prayers rejoicing in the resurrection."

So, I think I was right in telling my friend that the crucifix does remind us of Jesus' sufferings, I just didn't take it far enough.   I don't think one is right and one is wrong; we have crucifixes in our house and I have a crucifix necklace, but I also have a cross necklace.  I just feel a lot better that I have an answer.


  1. Great choice! Happy Saturday!

  2. Loved this post! My 7 year old just asked for a cross necklace for her birthday and we got her one. I never thought about the significance of an empty cross necklace. To us, it represents our faith in Christ, but I LOVE what your wrote about the differences between the crucifix and cross. Great food for thought. I've never wanted a crucifix necklace, now I think I want one! That flag pole illustration was powerful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Interesting post, and a topic I've never exactly delved into very deeply.

    For me, there's not much difference between an empty cross and Christ on the cross, which is what I'm supposing you call a crucifix?

    Both symbolize the redemptive work of Jesus. I would never dare compare an empty cross with a flagless flag pole. I understand the point being made, but I cannot see it applying to Christianity.

    For me, an empty cross brings to mind Christ's sufferings. I don't have to see a representation of His body for me to remember His sacrifice.

    Thanks for making me dig a little deeper today. I needed it after sleeping the morning away!

  4. That is beautiful, thank you. Blessings ~

  5. Hi Mary, I love this song when it is sung during the Mass at communion time..thanks for explaining the crucifix vs the cross..I love the crucifix and the symbolism behind it.
    Hugs, Baba

  6. I really enjoyed your story about John Michael Talbot. I LOVE that song. Off to church!


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