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Why I Wear a Crucifix Necklace Every Day

Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, or “INRI” adorned on the standard crucifix means Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. This is one of the interesting facts I like sharing when people strike up conversation about my crucifix necklace. 

Most of my close friends, family, and people who see me frequently on campus know that my cross necklaces and crucifixes are a staple of my daily wardrobe, and there’s a reason for that. To the world it’s just a piece of sparkly jewelry, but to me it’s a symbol of my continued outward commitment to God and hunger to actively choose the right and just paths in college and beyond. I’ll admit that I forget when I’m wearing it sometimes, and it can lose its meaning for me as I have grown used to it. However, I’m reminded constantly that it’s special, and so is being a practicing Catholic in college. I have an uncommon privilege to evangelize to others everyday on campus, which is an opportunity that not a lot of other women do. 

Yet, there’s currently a plethora of young men and women who judge individuals that they deem “not religious enough” for wearing religious items. This is an elitist attitude that needs to end. 

Even on the days that I’m not feeling particularly in-tune with the teachings of Jesus, I wear the necklace regardless because it was my great-grandmother’s, passed down to me from generation to generation. I find religious jewelry to be particularly unique because there’s often a backstory or motivation outside of its religious significance (i.e. a family heirloom, a Christmas gift, etc). 

Recently in my theology course, we were discussing the significance of matching your inward disposition with your outward disposition. According to a classmate, individuals who wear crucifixes but don’t go to mass are “doing it wrong.” To put it bluntly, I think that perspective is utter crap. As humans, we are so quick to judge that we don’t stop and think about their internal struggles, nor do we dare look in the mirror to see that we struggle with our relationship with God, too. 

The next time that you see someone wearing a crucifix who doesn’t strike you as the type to wear one, be genuine and start a conversation about it. They wouldn’t be wearing it unless they felt compelled to, and that’s the Holy Spirit at work. It’s now your job, if you are Catholic, to invite them to understand further that symbol in which they’re adorning beautifully on their neck. This could be simply saying, “If you want to join me at mass sometime let me know!” 

Being overly consumed with monitoring who’s “allowed” to wear religious jewelry is only counter-productive to evangelizing. God calls us to love one another, and that means recognizing something beyond yourself. Recognize that the Holy Spirit is working through you and I, and our non-Christian brothers and sisters, too. 

So yes, I do wear a crucifix every day, even if I’m not feeling particularly Catholic or don’t go to mass that day, and that’s okay. If wearing a piece of jewelry is what grounds someone in their faith or their ties to a family member, let them be. There’s no point in judging, everyone has plenty on their plate to analyze about themselves. Wearing a crucifix every day so far for three years has reminded me of God, but it has also opened up many conversations, both religious and non-religious— and that’s why I do it. 

 

 

Rachel is the campus correspondent and a Junior media and communications major/theology minor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She enjoys coffee, writing, and riding electric scooters around the city. Ideally, she would love to work as a broadcast journalist and columnist in the near future.
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