His eyes were wide and his face scrunched up. I could read the concern plain as day. He repeated himself, “Jesus got hurt”? I wasn’t prepared for this moment so soon, but I should’ve known considering the plethora of crucifixes we have acquired around our home.
I never thought twice about it because when I look to the crucifix I feel peace. I know what comes after the cross. But Cooper has yet to grasp what it means. I’m sure it looks a little scary without understanding the full picture.
I have decided to be honest. In a gentle way, of course. We cuddled up on the couch and pulled out our Catholic Children’s Bible. We began reading the parts of Jesus’s story that I had been intentionally avoiding. He looked closely at the crown of thorns pushed violently upon Jesus’s head, he saw the blood dripping down, and he reached out his hands to touch the holes where the nails had been.
His questions reawakened my own soul to the horrors of this day. I am so used to the story that it is easily dulled. But one cannot look a child in the eyes and explain such a gruesome death without flinching a few times. I made sure to emphasize the Resurrection. Cooper was happy to know Jesus is ok now.
“Because, people didn’t like Jesus. They didn’t believe him. But he loves you so much that he died for you so you can live in Heaven with him.”
And just like that Cooper jumped up and sprinted away on to the next exciting thing. I lingered with that for a moment. It was so beautiful to witness his child-like faith. He didn’t question or doubt, he just accepted it. His scrunched up, sad little face lit up in joy and amazement as if he’d known all along that Jesus died just for him.
After a moment, Cooper came running back to me. He said, “mom, I want to see.” He was referring to the large crucifix hoisted above our fire place. I lifted him up for a closer look and he explained it to me. He pointed out the holes in Jesus’s hands and feet. He touched the crown of thorns, telling me how much that would hurt. And he held Jesus’s gaze for a moment. “All done!” He said as I let him down.
As we go about our day, do we too run back to the crucifix? Do we let ourselves feel the sacrifice but also the joy?
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.