St. Paul of the Cross Monastery

148 Monastery Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Phone (412) 381-1188   Fax (412) 481-5049

The special insignia of every Passionist is the "Sign", the heart-shaped emblem you see on this page. It catches, in an image, the meaning of Passionist life.

In the middle of the emblem are the Words, JESU XPI PASSIO. Written in Greek and Latin, the languages of the early Church, those words mean: "the Passion of Jesus Christ," (The three nails at the bottom and the cross at the top remind us symbolically of his suffering and death.)

Every Passionist takes a special vow, a solemn promise, to spend his energies in promoting remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus. This vow defines the purpose of the Passionist community. We pledge to keep deep in our hearts the memory of the cross and to do what is in our power to remind others of it.

Why promise to do something like this? The answer lies with the meaning of the cross and death of Jesus Christ for the world.

First, the death of Jesus was no mere brutal execution of an extraordinary Jewish teacher and prophet long ago. His death was an event that changed human history. Jesus died that others might live. God so loved the world that he allowed his only Son to give his very life for us. The cross becomes the symbol telling us God's love is stronger than death. Passionists want to tell the world about that love.

But there are other reasons for the Passionist vow. Jesus' death on the cross was a death in the cause of justice. He was executed because he challenged accepted values. He sided with the poor and the outcasts. He condemned oppressive structures. Jesus was a prophet and prophets meet strong opposition.

His cross reminds us that Christians must listen to the cries of the poor. We are in solidarity with those whom society may forget or even exploit. The cross is a sign of justice. To remind the world about the cross is to challenge the world for its injustice and neglect. Passionists are pledged to that challenge.

Finally, remembering the cross means remembering those in the world who bear the cross today: the disabled, the sick, the dying, the grieving, those isolated and alone -- all who bear the burden of pain. Jesus identified himself with the "least". He shared their burdens and brought them hope. He, too, bore the cross.

Christians who believe in Jesus find strength in the memory of his Passion. Jesus knew pain and death. He also tasted the victory of everlasting life. Death is not the final word for those who believe. This , too, is part of the Resurrection message Passionists proclaim to the world.

The special sign we wear is meant to symbolize a solemn commitment to proclaim God's great love made known through the cross of Jesus. We nourish that memory in our hearts through prayer. We share that good news with all the world. We proclaim it through preaching, in our parishes and retreat centers, through radio and television, and by our presence in hospitals, classrooms, campuses, missions and those ministries of service to the community.

Want to find out more about the Passionist Symbol?  Visit, http://passionistcharism.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/passionist-symbols.pdf

The Passionist Sign

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Prayer To Jesus Crucified

Lord Jesus, by your life, suffering and death, you made it possible for us to be holy and to share in the eternal joy of your resurrection. With trust and confidence we look upon you on your cross and strive to unite ourselves with you in the passion of our daily lives. Look upon us and draw us close to you. Give us a share of your courage in times of adversity and anxiety. Strengthen us in our struggle against physical and spiritual evil. In our effort to imitate you in your Passion, help us to look upon those around us with loving care and concern. We pray that those who have turned away from you may be drawn back to you through the merits you gained for us on Calvary that all of us might live in never ending peace with joy.

Amen.

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