March 05, 2009

There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poictiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.
— John Calvin, Traité Des Reliques

To which Rohault de Fleury replied by making detailed measurements of all known fragments of the True Cross in his Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion. He assumed pinewood for density -- others identified olivewood instead -- and worked out an original total weight of around 75 kilograms and original volume of 0.178 cubic metres. The total volume of all his catalogued framents only came out to 0.004 cubic metres.

But set this aside for the moment. Set aside also the many questions of "whether". Assume, for the sake of argument, that what is venerated as the True Cross is everything it is claimed to be, a piece of wood literally baptised in the blood of the Lamb.

Assume even that everything Calvin says about the total number of fragments is true also.

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
- John 6:1-13

Do you still refuse to understand?

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