The holy cross that my mother gave to me on my 15th birthday is perhaps the most valuable and cherished item that I possess. I am really attached to that piece of jewelry and I am always wearing it around my neck on a silver chain. I have been born a devout Catholic Christian and my faith in my religion and the Lord is very strong and unshakable. Wearing the ornament gives me strength and I feel that I am closer to God. Whenever I feel troubled or I feel heavy at heart, all I have to do is hold the cross in my hand and close my eyes and suddenly everything becomes alright. The ornament is a symbol of my faith and religion and it is the most precious of my belongings.
I still remember the day of my 15th birthday when my mother gave me the cross pendant as a gift. I remember the stab of happiness in my heart and a glint of tears in my eyes as I opened the packet and found a beautiful silver cross inside a rectangular box. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I can see it now as it hangs from my neck and I can feel the presence of the Lord with me and all around me. It is silver in color and about 2 cm in length and about 0.75 cm wide. The four corners of the cross end in three semi circles placed at ninety degree angles, sort of like a three leaved clover, only round. In the middle of the cross, there is a small statuette of the Lord Jesus Christ shown as being crucified. The best part about the cross is that it opens up on a swivel that hinges the bottom corner. It slides open like a switch-blade knife and the back side of it is another cross. Inside, there is yet another cross, red and white in color, and has the words “Ex. Lig Crucis” and my initials name engraved on it. On the top corner is a small ring through which I have threaded a silver chain, which I use to hang the cross around my neck at all times.
The cross is a very important and very familiar symbol in the faith of Christianity. Since I have always been a very religious and devoted follower, I have always been fascinated about the origin of the symbol and its veneration. This has caused me to dig deep into my religious roots and I have collected a lot of information relating the importance of the cross to the Christian faith. I have found that although the cross was not so popular in the first three centuries of Christianity, it has been found in the Christian writings from the early 2nd century onwards. It was in the 3rd century that the cross started to become more prominent in Christian imagery. The cross, however, has always been used to represent the victory of Jesus Christ over death and sin, since it is believed in Christianity that His death conquered death itself. It is common knowledge that all Catholic and Orthodox Christians use their hands to make the sign of the cross upon their bodies, moving their hand from their forehead to chest and then from their left to the right shoulders. This sign is made to show reverence to the Lord at all times. The physical presence of the cross, at altars, statues, jewelry, etc started to become more popular in later years and it is belived that the cross was the first Instruments of the Passion to be revered as a relic.
Although this is the accepted and widespread view on the cross, there are many Christians, like the Christian Anabaptists, who have a different view on the presence of the cross and its implications as a symbol in Christianity. They interpret the instructions of Jesus of 'taking up of the cross' as an invitation to a life of fundamental Christian discipleship to be ended in death at the hands of the state, instead of the more orthodox spiritual call to endure suffering. The professors of this view also completely reject the use of violence.This view is more accepted amongst the Mennonites and other Peace churches who have a strong hisory of martyrdom. This view is somewhat also viewed by many Roman Catholics and Orthodox theologians, with perhaps the exception that they do not completely disallow the use of violence. Since I am a Vietnam born Catholic and have seen and heard much suffering of my people, I also tend to agree with this notion and am sure that the symbol of the cross is a call to my soul to fight for my rights to death. I am a staunch Christian and I believe that the Lord will always help me as long as I keep him close to my heart, even if it is as a silver cross around my neck.