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The Crucifix In The Church Of SS Gervais and Protas

Facade of the church Saint-Gervais_Saint-Prota...

Saint-Gervais_Saint-Protais in Paris.

Across the Seine River from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris stands the ancient  Church of SS Gervais and Protase, martyrs in the early days of Christianity.  Inside this Gothic-style church, I always find an atmosphere of semi-darkness where huge, round pillars hold up the high ceilings.  What attracts me especially to this church is the larger-than-life crucifix hanging from the side wall.

Each time I stand before this cross with Christ hanging on it, I always have one thought: “I will do my best to avoid sin!” Christ agonizes in a way that I have never seen in any other crucifix.  His head turned sideways and upwards tells of the hideous pain exploding in His brain.  From the strain of the agony gripping His legs and arms, the muscles have twisted themselves into grotesque rolls of flesh, all cramped and bulging.

As I stand there, I can almost hear the shrieking of the human part of Christ, filled with shock and violent trauma, crying out for relief.  Through the years, this crucifix on the side wall of the old church, in the half light of winter afternoons, has reminded me that Our Savior did not buy our salvation cheaply.  Sin, large or small is not something to toy with carelessly!

Many years ago – over 50 or so – a friend gave me a crucifix he had carved from rough, tough wood.  As I kiss the Face of Christ – which I do every morning at Mass – I am in danger of picking up slivers.  My friend did not make the Body of Christ smooth and antiseptic as most crucifixes are fashioned.  In the Face of the Suffering, the sculptor made deep lines to portray the excruciating suffering of the agonized Lord.  As I hold this precious gift to my lips and sense as never before the physical and psychological pain Jesus endured, I am forced to cry out, “Lord, do not let me betray You today!”

In this Holy Week ahead, let us hold on to our crucifixes deep within our hearts!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

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March 31, 2012 - Posted by | Bulletins

1 Comment »

  1. Again, Fr. George, your wonderful descriptive writing helps me to imagine this scene. I pray for you to have a blessed Holy Week and hope to see you soon. Love,

    Comment by Nancy Westvang | April 3, 2012 | Reply

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