When I was a Presbyterian at church one day I remember Our Minister was explaining defensively why our new church had a large cross at the pulpit. Presbyterians I have been told are the true Protestant Church, because it is in fact the complete opposite from the Catholic Church in many ways. Presbyterians at that time, I don’t know if it still applies, but definitely in those days they didn’t even consider a cross should be placed inside of a church was the correct thing to do. I don’t understand why not. Most Protestants don’t wear a crucifix for example they concentrate on the Resurrection, they say Jesus is now off the cross, He has paid for our sins, so they don’t have crucifixes at all, and they sometimes wear plain crosses instead of crucifixes. Many Catholics on the other hand will wear a crucifix or have a crucifix hanging up on their walls. So they can meditate on the price Jesus has paid for us often. A crucifix is a cross with a figure of Jesus stretched out on it. Devout Catholics want to keep in mind the cost Jesus suffered, so we can really meditate and appreciate what we owe Him. When we do this often, it strengthens our faith and love for Him.
A friend buys a Crucifix
One of my Protestants friends, when she visits my place she often admires my altar. On top of my altar I have a crucifix hanging on the wall. One day she rang me and she was going through a hard time and said that she wishes she had a crucifix like I did. So I invited her to go to a Catholic shop with her where she could buy herself one, which she did. She rang me another day upset because one of her Protestant friends saw her crucifix and was worried about me leading her astray and told her that Jesus has rosed from the dead and that He is not on the cross any more. She said ‘she doesn’t understand how much comfort I get out of seeing the crucifix.’ She said ‘it reminds me every time I see it that Jesus truly loves me and that He has paid for all my sins.’ She was at that time in great need of reinforcing her faith, because the devil was tormenting her so much. I told her that it is important to remember and meditate on the Resurrection, but it is also important to remember how Jesus died for our sins. So that we can have a greater appreciation of what He did for us. Then she picked up and said ‘they are both just as important as each other.’ I said ‘yes.’ People can get so technical or another word for it may be legalistic about their beliefs that they can’t see the forest for the trees, so as to block God’s will from ever happening.
Religious Pictures and Statues
I remember the days when I was a Presbyterian, it was considered wrong to have a picture of Jesus hanging on your wall. It was considered to be idolatry to have a picture of Him. I think back now and wonder if that is how they truly saw it, then the same rule should also had been applied to the pictures that are in their photo albums and the pictures they have of their love ones hanging on their walls. We all love photos of people we love and when we look at them they bring back beautiful memories, especially if they are no longer with us. Pictures of Jesus and the saints, whom we consider our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should have a need to hang their pictures on our walls too. If you truly love Jesus and the people who have truly served Him in their lives, their pictures has the same kind of effect on us as pictures of our love ones have. It makes us feel close to them and because we see them hanging there so often we keeping thinking of them. In just the same way you do with any picture of a family member. This also applies to statures of Jesus and the saints. They have even a greater effect on us. And God does use them many times. There have been so many times when God has used the stature of Mary for instances to draw people’s attention to the times we are living in and warning us to repent. One statue of Mary is known to move her eyes and lips and other statues have been known to weep oil etc. Of course some of those statures are fakes but not all of them. It is important to keep God in your mind all the time. We are suppose to be in love with Him. When people are in love they think of their love one all the time. Pictures and statues help us do that.
Many times God will use them to any person at all, who looks at them reflecting on the person the statues represents. The greater the love and the greater the affection we have for the person it represents the more likely God will use it to bring us even closer to Himself-God. When we look at the picture or statue of Jesus we think of Jesus’s great love for us and all the sacrifices He made for us and how we best can please Him in our day to day life. When we look at pictures or statues of Saints we look at it with affection for the Saints it represents, for how they brought us closer to God, through their examples of their lives that showed us the way to Jesus. Or maybe we are considering the many times they have answered our prayers by interceding to God on our behalf. I remember a friend of mine many years ago had so much faith in Saint Anthony prayers, because He always helped her to find things and so many times it would be done in such a way that it was a miracle, an answer to prayer.
Confusion about the use of Statues
Protestants are often confused about Catholics kneeling in front of a statue and actually believe we are worshiping the statue. That is far from the truth. We are intelligent enough to know a statue is only a statue. We are kneeling at what the statue represents. If it is a statue of Jesus we are worshiping Jesus not His statue. If we are kneeling in front of the statue of Mary or a saint we are showing our respect and are honouring them for their services to God in their life time. And we are also acknowledging for example that they are now reigning with Jesus in heaven as it is written in the bible. We will all reign with Him in heaven if we are faithful to Him on earth. They have made it! We are still on our journey to heaven and we are asking them to pray for us, to help us get there. It is an ancient custom to kneel before another, showing both humility and respect for the other person. It has never meant worship in the past and it still does not mean worship now unless you are kneeling before God, which Jesus is the second person of God. If we look at an example of an old ancient custom such as a man proposing to a woman for her hand in marriage, he would get down on his knees to do this. The woman and the man knew he wasn’t worshiping her, he was showing her that he respected her and he was going to be a good husband for her, which of course was not always the case. It was an act of humility. Humility is not honoured much these days and often when people kneel in front of a statue some people consider the person is worshiping the statue or the person the statue represents.
A fine line between honouring and worshiping a saint
There is a fine line sometimes between honouring and worshiping a saint. I am talking about mature Catholics that know the difference. Because some people go too far with their devotion of a saint, doesn’t mean all Catholics do. Some people will look at for example all the hypocrites that call themselves Christians regardless of what denomination they belong to, and then say all Christians are like that. We know that is not true. Sometimes I think it is a cover up to excuse themselves from following Christ, even when they know He is the true Messiah. And I believe deep down they know Jesus expects us to behave differently from what the many so called Christians are. Only a few Christians stay on the straight and narrow road that leads to eternal life. The visionaries are saying when Jesus comes for His Church at the rapture, only twenty percent of people who call themselves Christians will be ready to go with Him. So let’s be warned and do everything we can to get ready. Lets take the bible seriously and start acted out what Jesus has taught us.