Monday 26 October 2009

Christians should wear crosses - and Lourdes Magazine October-November 2009

The Anglican Bishop of Litchfield, Rt Rev Jonathon Gledhill, has called on Christians to wear crosses, or the fish symbol, to demonstrate their faith in the public arena. He particularly encouraged them to do so during the period leading up to Christmas. The BBC report here, and that from Christian Today here.

By a happy coincidence, the October-November issue of Lourdes Magazine arrived today. It has as its theme and cover story: "Learn to make the Sign of the Corss with Bernadette". This is to be the theme for the pilgrimages of 2010, and the magazine has dedicated this particular issue to the theme with the idea that it can be used to prepare for next year's pilgrimages. At the date of posting, there is nothing about the 2010 theme on the Lourdes website, but I expect that something will appear sooner or later.

In his editorial, Francois Vayne writes:
It seems to me intuitively that when we make this Sign, it is as if the shadow of the Cross covers us in the same way as it covered Mary at the instant the Crucified Christ gave up His Spirit. This fruitful shadow, that of the Spirit, associates us with the compassion of Mary, Mother of the new humanity.
A meditation entitled "You belong to Christ" echoes the words of the Bishop of Lichfield ("The mark of a real Christian community is not so much the lapel badges and crosses we wear as the spontaneous, generous and practical love we show to the world") , that the cross should be more to us than just a badge. Yes, it is a badge or a sign that we wear and express; but it is a badge and sign of a deeper reality.
The cross is not a badge. May it become more than a symbol for you: you are a Christian, you belong to Christ. Let the Cross dominate you life. It shows the descent as much as the ascent - the ascent which is effected in the same measure as the descent is extended downwards. It seems to want to say to you: don't look up so much, where you are seeking to flee. Come down, come down, become more silent, more docile, do not recoil in the face of suffering, ridicule, humiliation; a hand is holding you at the other end, and hoisting you up, without you even knowing it.
In an article intended to help parents pray the Sign of the Cross with their children, we find the following as a caption to one of the illustrations:
I am a child of God. When I make the Sign of the Cross, I trace over me the Cross of Jesus, the Saviour. When I touch my forehead, my heart and my shoulders, it is He who marks me with His Love.

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