The Passionist Sign
THE PASSIONIST SIGN
The special insignia of the Passionists is the “Sign”, the heart-shaped emblem you see on this page. It catches, in an image, the meaning of being Passionist.
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.)
Passionists dedicate themselves to spending their energies in promoting remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus. They pledge to keep deep in their hearts the memory of the cross and to do what is in their power to remind others of it.
Why 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. 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. Passionists stand 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 Passionists wear is meant to symbolise their desire to proclaim God’s great love made known through the cross of Jesus. Passionists nourish that memory in their hearts through prayer and Passionists share that good news with all the world.