Happy Feast Day of Saint Francis! This day has gained special significance in the past year 🙂
Rather than write a general post about this Saint’s incredible life, I thought I would share an interesting tidbit I learned about the Tau Cross that is generally associated with the Franciscans.
A few weeks ago the daily Mass readings were from Ezekiel. During this time, I was doing some research on this B.A. prophet and skimming through his adventures, when I came upon an interesting passage. This is from Ezekiel chapter 9:4: “and the LORD said to him:* Pass through the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark an X on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the abominations practiced within it.”
My bible’s handy dandy footnotes told me that the mark Ezekiel put on their foreheads was actually the Hebrew letter Taw…as in the letter the Tau cross is based on. For all of you who think that St. Francis invented the Tau cross, yes you have been lied to. After getting over the shock of betrayal, I decided to investigate the matter further. I found this enlightening article which outlines the development of the cross. While others, such as the 3rd century monk St. Anthony, held a devotion to the cross, St. Francis certainly made it popular. He especially liked its simplicity. The Franciscan order’s habit is also in the shape of the Tau cross.
The Tau cross is referred to as the Old Testament cross and a precursor of the crucifix. Lately, it’s been on my heart to really devour scripture and I am continually amazed by the connections between the Old and New Testaments. It all points to one divine author and one savior, who took up the cross so that you and I might have life.
“Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. ” ― St. Francis of Assisi