We recently posted an article called Praying with a Crucifix Like a Saint where we talked about how praying with a crucifix can be a great aid to enhancing and deepening your prayer life. This was a common practice for many (probably most) of the saints, and several of them actually had significant mystical experiences with Christ through their devotional use of a crucifix. In that blog I included stories from St. Francis of Assisi, St. Paul of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Gemma Galgani, to name a few.
After I wrote this, I came across a deeply touching promise of Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude the Great regarding the devotional use of a crucifix which she recorded in her book Herald of Divine Love. St. Gertrude the Great (1256-1301) had a profound devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a full 400 years before it was propagated by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) to the Universal Church.
Here is what Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude the Great about praying with a crucifix (in fact, all St. Gertrude did was constantly look at her crucifix and use it as an impetus to her heart's loving centering on the Sacred Heart of Jesus):
“It is very agreeable to Me to see thee thus honoring the Crucifix. It is always an effect of Divine grace when men's eyes meet the Image on the Cross, and never once do they rest upon It, but their soul is benefited. The oftener they do this here on earth with reverence and love, the greater will be their reward in heaven.”
And in another place He tells her:
“Every time one kisses the Crucifix, or looks at it with devotion, the eye of God's mercy is fixed upon his soul. He should then listen within himself to these words of tenderness from Me: 'Behold how I, for love of thee, hang on the Cross—naked, despised, My while Body wounded, all My limbs distended. And still My Heart is enkindled with such glowing love for thee that if it were beneficial for thy salvation and thou couldst not be saved in any other way, I would for thee alone endure all that I suffered for the whole world!'”
Wow. Let that sink in for a few minutes. And then be sure to keep a crucifix in your home, where you work, hanging on a rosary from your rear view mirror, and any other place that allows you to reflect on the Divine Love of Christ and this amazing truth . . . “I would for thee alone endure all that I suffered for the whole world!”