The Catholic Defender: Devotion and Prayer before a Crucifix
In my quest to find promises Jesus offers to His people to help them avoid Hell, the very mechanism of His Death is a source Jesus calls for meditation.
In looking at the crucifix, consider meditating on the sufferings of Jesus, His Passion.
In due time, many make the decision to rebel against God, to allow sin to fester from within.
To prevent this to happen, many years ago I developed this meditation that helps me when looking at a crucifix:
The crowning of thorns and the wounds on his head reflects the suffering he bore because of what we place in our head. When we allow garbage to come in, eventually the garbage manifests itself as it fills the heart.
His right hand (wrist) nailed to the cross reflects the things we did that caused sin, his left hand (wrist) nailed to the cross reflects the things we failed to do.
Study the feet, sometimes you will see a crucifix with the left over right, sometimes we might see the feet fastened separately.
Either way, this reflects our choosing to walk a wrong path, a rabbit trail.
Consider the lance through the heart, how the Sacred Heart of Jesus loves us all so much, yet we have hardened our hearts against him choosing to sin. There is so much we can meditate on using the crucifix.
Christ on the cross hung there naked reminding us of our own shame, for times we sinned against the flesh.
The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are:
1. Wisdom - desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory
2. Understanding - enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith
3. Counsel - warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation
4. Fortitude - strengthen us to do the will of God in all things
5. Knowledge - enable us to discover the will of God in all things
6. Piety - love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him
7. Fear of the Lord - have a dread of sin and fear of offending God
These gifts help aid us in our walk of faith. The following is a popular prayer many pray before a crucifix:
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and, with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity; true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment.
While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity, Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus: "They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones."
Here is what Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude the Great about praying with a crucifix (in fact, all St. Gertrude did was constantly look at her crucifix and use it as an impetus to her heart's loving centering on the Sacred Heart of Jesus):
Jesus gave these promises to St. Gertrude, “It is very agreeable to Me to see thee thus honoring the Crucifix. It is always an effect of Divine grace when men's eyes meet the Image on the Cross, and never once do they rest upon It, but their soul is benefited. The oftener they do this here on earth with reverence and love, the greater will be their reward in heaven.”
“Every time one kisses the Crucifix, or looks at it with devotion, the eye of God's mercy is fixed upon his soul. He should then listen within himself to these words of tenderness from Me: 'Behold how I, for love of thee, hang on the Cross—naked, despised, My whole Body wounded, all My limbs distended. And still My Heart is enkindled with such glowing love for thee that if it were beneficial for thy salvation and thou couldst not be saved in any other way, I would for thee alone endure all that I suffered for the whole world!'”