Why Do Catholics…Part 8 – Have Crucifixes

You know, it wasn’t until I left college that I realized Catholics had crucifixes and other Christians only had crosses on their wallcrucifix2s, on their jewelry, and in their churches.  But you can always tell that someone is Catholic if they have a crucifix around their necks.

As I mentioned in the statues section, crucifixes and statues are a type of visual aid to help us focus our thoughts and prayers on our goal of Heaven.  But why do we have a crucifix rather than just a cross?  We proclaim Christ crucified, as St. Paul said, to show the great sacrificial love that god has for us in allowing his son to die on the cross for our sins.  Many times, we see Christ crucified in all of his pain and suffereing, pain and suffering that he could only share with mankind through his fully human nature.  And recognizing his suffering causes us to be thankful.  Another word for Eucharist is thanksgiving.  So when we gaze upon a crucifix, we are actually united ever more closely with the sacrifice of the mass through the Body and Blood of Christ.

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