A Damaged Crucifix, by S. Sharonlu Sheridan OSF

Crucifix in France    (Source: WikiCommons)

Toward the end of the last century, I was in Dover Massachusetts on sabbatical.  St. Stephen’s Priory, where I studied and prayed, was situated in the midst of a beautiful small forest on the Charles River.  Many times those of us on sabbatical would take advantage of the lovely trails in that forest.  Along the way there, posted like village shrines, was the way of the cross.  It was so quiet and peaceful, meditation was easy.

I was shocked to see, however, that the Corpus for the 12th station had become a feasting place for the small animals that inhabited the forest.  Nibbling marks could be seen all along the cross itself, but the biggest damage was to the center of the figure of Christ.  The chest of the body had been eaten away so that there remained a gaping hole raggedy on the edges.  I made a note to let the Dominican friars know that repair was needed.

That gaping hole filled my thoughts for several days.  Then at a period of sharing we were asked to tell one thing that filled our hearts the past two days.  I stood to tell of the crucifix with its damaged corpus.  As the words came out, I found myself saying, “It looked as if the Heart of Jesus had burst forth from His body, so filled with love for us that it could not be contained within.”

I have thought of that crucifix in the wooded area where meditation was easy.  The hole in the crucifix, where the heart of Jesus would have been, is always the first thing that pops into my head when I speak of Dover.

Next time you say your rosary, or look at the crucifix in your bedroom, or genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament in Church and see the crucifix on the altar, Think of that “damaged Jesus” figure I saw.  His heart still explodes with love for each of us.  It’s about time we began to give love back with thanksgiving!

Sharonlu, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

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