The cross of Jesus Christ is central to our mission…
This is the focal point of the spirit of Eugene, handed on to the Mazenodian family today.
Through the eyes of our crucified Saviour we see the world which he redeemed with his blood, desiring that those in whom he continues to suffer will know also the power of his resurrection (cf. Phil 3: 10).
CC&RR, Constitution 4
For this reason Eugene wanted the Missionary to have a special veneration for the symbol of the Cross, and to never be far from it:
They will often fix their eyes on this crucifix, take it in their hands, and while holding it direct toward it frequent short prayers.
They will kiss it in the morning when they hang it around their neck, and at night when they place it near their bed, before putting on and after taking off the priestly vestments, and every time they judge it appropriate to let someone else venerate it.
1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. Regarding other principal observances
Writing to his friend, Forbin Janson, he had said:
You would hardly believe the effect it produces and how useful it is. People accustomed to ecclesiastical attire are little impressed; but the crucifix to them is awesome. How often have I seen, even amongst libertines, some who, when they see it, cannot help removing their hats… It is useful to the priest in the confessional and, on the day of absolution, it helps the penitent, in whose hands we place it, to conceive sorrow for his sins, to detest them and even to weep because of them.
Letter to Forbin Janson, 9 October 1816, O.W. VI n. 14
“All that passes is raised to the dignity of expression; all that happens is raised to the dignity of meaning. Everything is either symbol or parable.” Paul Claudel