I would like to share some exciting news about a beautiful gift that has been given to the Community of St. Edward. Thanks to some very generous donors, we will be installing a new “corpus” for our cross in the Main Sanctuary – just in time for Lent. “Corpus” (Latin for “Body”) refers to the body of Jesus traditionally depicted as hanging on the cross. The new corpus is hand-carved and painted and comes from Berglund Studio in Italy. It’s a beautiful piece and will be a very meaningful addition to our worship space. Our current “resurrected” corpus will be hung on the central wall of the Social Hall – thus giving this beloved depiction of the Resurrection a continued place of prominence in our community.
Having a crucified corpus on the cross reminds us of the fact that it was on the cross that our salvation was won. When Jesus bowed his head and gave over his spirit, our sins were forgiven. At that very moment, the heavens parted, and a ray of light shown through the clouds as the gates of paradise were re-opened. It was because of Jesus’ sacrifice of love, his willingness to give his life on the cross, that our hope of eternal life was born. Three days later, Easter came, but it wasn’t the Resurrection that forgave our sins, it was the Crucifixion. That is why the Church has maintained from the beginning the tradition of the crucifix.
One other thing I’d like to note theologically is the symbolism of the crucifix at Mass. At each Liturgy, we recall and make present what happened at the Last Supper. Jesus took the bread and broke it and said “this is my body.” Then he took the cup and said “this is my blood.” The next day, as he hung on the cross, literally, his body was “broken” and his blood “poured out.” When we see the crucifix at Mass, we are reminded of the powerful connection between the Eucharist we receive and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This is another reason the Church maintains the tradition of the crucified corpus.
I know this will be a big change for many of us who have prayed over the years with the resurrected corpus, but I also believe that over time, as we pray the Mass together, this new corpus will powerfully affect our Eucharistic spirituality and our experience of God’s sacrificial love – a love so powerfully depicted by the image of His “body broken and His blood poured out.”
God bless our community of St. Edward as we continue to celebrate the great mystery of faith that we pray at every Mass:
“When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death O Lord, until you come again.”