What Do You See When You Look at the Cross?

What Do You See When You Look at the Cross?

By Mariah Mulderink

In the first few months that I dated my husband, there was something that worried me.  I was worried that once he experienced some of the hard parts of life, he would walk away.  I was worried that it would be too much to ask of him and that these difficulties would end his interest in me.

So often, people turn away from something when it stops bringing them happiness.  In a lot of situations this makes sense.  If you’re reading a book and all it does is upset you, then stop reading it.  If the movie you’re watching is so dull that you’re drooling, turn it off.  If you realize the milk you were drinking has gone bad, stop drinking it.  This just makes sense.  To continue on in these sorts of situations is silly and unnecessary.  However, things change when you bring people into it.  So let’s do that.  Let’s consider Jesus Christ and His cross.

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery:  Jesus Dies on the Cross

Here we are.  We have arrived at the Fifth Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.  We have reflected on Christ’s agony in the garden, His scourging at the pillar, His crowning of thorns, and the carrying of His cross.  We are now at the end:  the moment of His crucifixion.  Let us take a moment to imagine the scene.

Exhausted, numb with pain, and enduring continual mockery, Christ arrives at Golgotha.  Stripped of all His clothing, the Lord is laid naked, exposed on the cross.  Without a thought, the soldiers drive nails through His hands and His feet.  Such unspeakable brutality done to our Lord.  The cross is raised and Christ hangs on it before all.  Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John stand nearby and are with Him to the end.  Take a moment to reflect on the pain Mary feels which is driven by her immeasurable love for her Son.  Without a doubt, a mother’s love is truly immeasurable.  From the cross, Jesus gives His Mother to all.  From the cross, He forgives those who torture and kill Him.  From the cross, He extends salvation to a condemned man.  From the cross, He gives up His Spirit to the Father.

What do we see when we look at Jesus on the cross?

For what it is, the cross is not beautiful.  It’s intended purpose was as an instrument of death.  Christ’s crucifixion, any crucifixion was a horrible thing.  The unbelievable agony it caused is something no one should ever experience.  So, is this what we see when we look at Jesus on the cross?  Pain and suffering?  Perhaps...but if we look again, there is more.  Yes, there is pain and suffering, but there is also love.  

I remember when it finally clicked for me what the crucifix truly signifies.  The crucifix is a sign of God’s perfect, unconditional love for each and every person.  It is not a symbol of defeat.  It is not just a reminder of Christ’s incredible suffering and death.  It is first and foremost a declaration of love.  Many times, more than I can count, I have looked to the crucifix so as to remember how I am loved.  When I doubt my worth, or question my purpose, I look to the crucifix and any doubt is squashed.

You cannot have Christ without the cross.

St. John of the Cross said, “Do not seek Christ without the Cross.”  Before I dive into this, let’s go back to the memory I shared at the beginning of this blog.  In the beginning of my dating relationship with my husband, I feared that he would walk away when the hard stuff in my life appeared.  Once the happiness of new love faded, perhaps I would not be worth it.  My fear was unwarranted because my husband knew what it meant to love someone.  To love someone is not to expect only happiness and comfort.  To love someone is to love them and stand by them in the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health.  So it is with Christ, our Bridegroom.  To love Christ and stand with Christ is not to expect only happiness and comfort.  Rather it is to embrace any cross that is given to us and remain faithful to Him no matter what.  As Christ’s Bride, we are called to love Him at all times and in all circumstances.  To embrace Christ also requires us to embrace the cross.  This will lead us to everlasting joy in Heaven with Christ our King and Savior.

Want to reflect on more of the Sorrowful Mysteries?  Catch up here. We hope that it will help you in your contemplation each day as you pray the Rosary.  Please also, take a moment to check out some of our other resources to aid you in your devotion to the Rosary.

Are you an audio type person?  Download our Audio Rosary - Sorrowful Mysteries at no cost.

If you are frequently on the go and just can’t find the 20 minutes you need to pray your rosary, ourRosary Bracelets are perfect for you.  Having the rosary on your wrist throughout your day makes it accessible and a great reminder.  The removable crucifix charm will also help you keep track of where you are in your Rosary so that you can stop and go as often as you need.

Want to help your children learn the Sorrowful Mysteries and contemplate them in a very accessible way?  Check out our FREE downloadable coloring sheets featuring the Sorrowful Mysteries.


Mariah Mulderink

Mariah Mulderink is wife, mom, Masters in Theology student, and marketing director for Chews Life. Her greatest joys are her faith, her family, her friends, and any chance to be competitive. For her, one of the greatest privileges she has received is the opportunity to pursue her Masters in Theology. Studying the faith is not only fascinating but is also a beautiful way to know God better. She hopes her studies and her faith will always equip her to share Christ in her work and with every person she meets.

You can find out more about her here.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published