The wooden cross is a physical manifestation of carrying my cross, writes Teresa Quadros of Youth Speak News. Photo/Pexels

Speaking Out: My wooden cross keeps my faith alive

By  Teresa Quadros, Youth Speak News
  • March 24, 2017

Every so often, I get questioning looks directed at the cross hanging from my neck. Sometimes, people are curious to know what that wooden symbol means.

My Confirmation cross has hung proudly around my neck day after day for almost three years. And while the lacquer of the wood has begun to peel, the simple wooden cross I received in Grade 8 has come to represent the true significance of what faith means to me.

When I first received my cross the month before being confirmed, I was told to wear it boldly as a sign of my belief in God and in the Catholic Church. However, with no real personal reason, I found myself more often forgetting to put the cross on each morning. I never saw a need to wear it as “proof” that I was an active Catholic.

Yet on the day of my Confirmation, I came to realize that this cross is not just a symbol, but is the fulfillment of God’s love for me. At Confirmation, I was called to renew the promises made by my parents during Baptism. I chose to say, “Yes, I believe in the truth of Jesus Christ.”

No longer was I a Catholic because I was born into a Catholic family, but now it was my decision to be part of the Church.

Receiving the Confirmation cross was just the beginning of my walk in faith. It reminds me that the promise I made at Confirmation remains true throughout the course of my life.

Every day as I put on my cross I am reminded of three things: that I carry the light of Christ in me, that I belong to the Catholic Church, and I believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). The wooden cross is a physical manifestation of carrying my cross.

The cross itself represents Jesus Christ and the Good News. The cross is the most central symbol of the Christian faith. The wood reminds me of the suffering Jesus endured during His passion, and that He bore the weight of my sins upon that cross.

In a world so adamant that God is not real, in a society that encourages us to put God last, wearing my Confirmation cross is how I boldly stand in faith. It may not be much, but even this small visual sign is strengthening my trust in the Lord.

In a diverse school community, it is so easy to be lost in the sea of identities. It is important for me to, first and foremost, be represented as a child of God, as a Catholic.

Never is my cross a symbol of bragging. Rather, it symbolizes my humility, that I must walk with Christ lest I stumble. The cross is where all wounds are healed and sins are forgiven.

While the cross is a sign to the world of Jesus’ crucifixion, for me it has come to be the sign of my salvation in Christ.

(Quadros, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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