Exaltation of the Cross

One of the aspects of life in Italy that is very much in your face as you wander narrow streets in remote villages, is their sense of religion. Or can I rephrase that to say the face of the religious life of the Country. Because, like so many European Countries, Italy has a public face as a Christian Country that belies the practice of it’s people. As here in England, many claim to have religion, fewer, day by day, actively practice their faith.

But the history and it’s memories are still there for all to see. Street after street will have it’s shrines, church after church the “incorrupt” remnants of saints displayed on altars in lavish and vulgar caskets.

Dominating the shrines, street wall after street wall, are huge crucifixes elaborate in their detail. Detail that highlight the suffering, the struggle and the death of Jesus.There is often a skull, the nails, a dangerous looking flail, the lance, the crown of thorns.

I suppose it is the culture and the time that make these shrines stand out. It is a church of many years ago that focused on the pain, struggle n suffering as the means of our salvation.

But while life will always have its suffering, what heals is the overwhelming and unconditional love of the one who suffered for us. And what we should see when we look at the Cross is that sense of triumph. That by sharing in the Love that is Jesus we, too, are set free.

So when we look at the Cross, see through to suffering to the love that sets us all free.

Just a thought!