Years ago, a priest friend of mine told me that he had been asked by a married couple to bless their newly built home. He said that the home was “absolutely beautiful” and was equipped with all the latest technology. It had a wireless network throughout the house for computers, TVs, an intercom system, and there was a room that was set aside for a home theater that had been planned for the future.
The priest told me that when he asked the couple where the crucifix and bible were, they gave him a puzzled look. The wife responded, “Oh, do we need a crucifix and bible to get our house blessed?”
The priest’s response could have very well been, “Well, no, but it would be nice if this expensive, high tech, Catholic home had a crucifix on a wall in a prominent place!”
After blessing the house, the priest encouraged the couple to purchase a crucifix, get it blessed, and hang it in their living room.
Forty years ago, when Georgette and I got married, we had more than 500 people attend our wedding. Many of our guests were devout Catholics. Out of all the gifts we received, we did not receive one crucifix (or any other sacramental).
I’m not complaining about the gifts we received. Our guests were very generous with the gifts they gave us, and some of them may have assumed that we already owned one or more crucifixes, which we did. But we were still surprised that we did not receive a crucifix to hang on the wall of our first apartment.
At that time, we decided that from then on, we were going to give a crucifix as a wedding gift for every Catholic wedding we attended. Since then, there have been some years when we have given out more than a dozen crucifixes to newly married couples.
Why a crucifix? Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., a Catholic theologian and the author of more than 40 books about the Catholic faith, said this about the crucifix:
The cross is not only a symbol of Christianity; it is, in a way, Christianity itself, for it was on the cross that mankind, including our own, were atoned; it is from the cross that all the graces we receive finally derive; and it is or should be in the cross that we find our greatest inspiration to serve God as we should.
Do you have a crucifix on display in a prominent place in your home? How about a picture or statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary or St. Joseph? It wouldn’t hurt to have a picture of your favorite saint in your bedroom for no other reason than to pray to him or her every day when you see the picture.
The technological marvels that we have at our fingertips today allow us to live lives of great pleasure, comfort, and convenience. Yet there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned wooden crucifix on the wall of your living room to remind you that your purpose on this earth goes far beyond seeing to it that you are able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.