It was spring break in the earliest years of this century as two broke girls set out to have a “Wild West” adventure. This adventure would take us over three thousand miles and provide us the opportunity to spend time admiring many of the spectacular landscapes gifted to us complements of our Divine Creator.
We saw the majesty of the Rockies, the splendor of the rock formations in Arches National Park, and the jaw dropping vastness of the Grand Canyon.
We made many stops on this trip.
One of those places was in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was the Loretto Chapel, the home of the Miraculous Staircase. Though this chapel is now a museum, it still (or at least at the time did) feels like the Catholic chapel for which it was built. It had a beautifully ornate altar and the star of the show, the staircase with its mysterious origin. It has the feel of a sacred space and invites one ever so gently to prayer.
The staircase was nothing short of a gorgeous and masterful display of wood work and architecture. As my eyes explored the grandeur of this chapel they fell upon this magnificent, hand-carved, mahogany crucifix.
Though this crucifix was way outside my budget at the time (remember, broke college student), I knew it had I to have it, and so, that crucifix joined us for the journey home.
Six moves and many years later that crucifix still hangs in a prominent place in our home, as it has since its arrival from Santa Fe. Countless hours have been spent in front of this crucifix. On my knees I have cried both tears of heartbreak, sometimes cradling the crucifix, and tears of joy. I’ve sung songs of praise, and probably, most often, offered prayers of petition.
My children are also comfortably familiar with it, as they too have prayed prayers of atonement and thanksgiving, and even in their early years practiced “Mass behavior” by kneeling peacefully, eyes transfixed on our Savior.
When things are hard, when I need to feel His love, or when I realize all the blessings in my life I’ve done nothing to deserve, I turn to Jesus on this cross and it is a constant visual reminder of His infinite love for us.