Sept. 14: THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS.
The Holy Cross is the expression of Our Lord’s immense love for us,
of life, of joy, of victory over death, sin and evil, of glory.
Audiovisual summary and text.
We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered (Entrance Antiphon of the Mass).
Today, our Mother Church sings and exalts of the triumph of the Holy Cross, the instrument of our salvation. The celebration of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began in Rome at the end of the 7th century. In the old liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, the feast of the Invention of the Cross was celebrated on May 3, commemorating St. Helena’s discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross in Jerusalem.
Today’s feast however commemorates the Exaltation of the Cross, celebrating above all the circumstances during which the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (545-641 c. AD) recovered from the Persians the True Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ which they had carried off.
During Heraclius’ invasion of the capital, Khosrau II, King of the Persians, fled from his house, Dastagird (near Baghdad). Meanwhile, some of the Persian dignitaries freed Khosrau’s eldest son Kavadh II, whom he had imprisoned, and proclaimed him King on the night of 23–24 February, 628. However, Kavadh was mortally ill and was concerned that Heraclius should protect his infant son, Ardeshir. As his token of goodwill, Kavadh sent the True Cross with a peace negotiator to ask Heraclius for peace in 628.
Dear brethren in Christ, in order to follow Christ, we must take up his Cross daily. However, we should not consider Christ’s Cross and all that it entails – sacrifice, difficulties, suffering – in a pessimistic or negative manner, such that which we have to hastily flee from it at all costs.
Throughout our life, we should not be surprised to find Christ’s Cross and all its manifestations along the way: illness, family and economic problems, daily contradictions, the daily struggle against ourselves, etc.
Let us not forget that the Cross is the symbol of Our Lord’s immense love for us, of life, of joy, of his triumph over death, sin and evil, and is throne of glory And for us it should be the same.
To find the Cross is to find happiness because it is where we could find Christ. Hence, we must willingly embrace Christ’s Cross with arms wide open, just like Our Lord did!
- Embracing Christ’s Cross implies that we must learn how to unite our suffering with God’s will telling Our Lord: “May thy most just, lovable Will be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted above all things for ever, amen!”
- Accepting Christ’s Cross with filial trust and divine abandonment results to serenity, a deep interior peace, and thus, joy convinced that God is a Father who loves us, knows best and never abandons us. Embracing His Cross is a manifestation of true love which is ready for whatever sacrifice, thus identifying ourselves with Our Lord.
- Lord, teach me how to “love sacrifice;” for“it is a fountain of interior life”, of intimacy with God. Teach me how to “love the Cross,” for it“is an altar of sacrifice”, (St. Josemaria) of salvation, of virtue, of holiness and of Love!
Let us make the resolution to daily embrace and love the Cross which Our Lord places on our shoulder as a sign of predilection and trust on us in co-redeeming with Him in this life, convinced that if we accept it with faith, joy and abandonment to God the sufferings which life inevitably brings, and offer them to Our Lord, it is no longer we who carry the Cross but Christ Himself. Then our yoke will be easy and our burden will be light, as Jesus Himself told us.
Below you have the following words of St. Josemaria from a meditation given on May 3, 1964 (Latin phrases translation and caps mine) which could be useful in our personal prayer.
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS Facebook page and website. Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.
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+++EXCERPT FROM ST. JOSEMARIA’S MEDITATION BEGINS HERE.+++
“My children, you can see I’m not exaggerating. The Cross still is a symbol of death, instead of being a sign of life. People still flee from the cross as if it were a gallows, when it is a throne of glory. Christians still reject the Cross and identify it with suffering, instead of identifying it with love. You and I have to go out in search of the Cross, to seek it out (you understand me), in order to love it, to receive it with our arms wide open, whenever it comes – that is the third solution I mentioned earlier; that is our way.
A Cross from which he reigns: oportet illum regnare (“it is necessary that He must reign”- 1 Cor 15:25)! From which he manifests his greatness, his immense greatness, eternal, majestic, all-conquering. But we must be small: illum oportet crescere, me autem minui (“it is necessary that He must increase and that I must decrease”- Jn 3:30). My children, you know from your own experience that the Father does not deceive you. I have so often told you and written for you, what I have experienced in this poor life of mine: that suffering is not suffering when we embrace it in union with Jesus. The Cross is not something to run away from, but something we have to receive with love. And then the cross is Christ’s. He carries it, and therefore it isn’t heavy. That’s why I get a bit indignant when people speak so much about the cross, and crosses. You’ll tell me it’s the habitual way of speaking in ascetical works, and it’s true. But I’m not convinced. No, Lord, no! …THE CROSS AND CROSSES ARE JOY, HONOUR, IMPROVEMENT, PERFECTION, HOLINESS. JOY HERE AND VICTORY IN THE NEXT WORLD!
That was the idea I wanted to obtain as the fruit of this morning’s prayer: not only for you, but for all my children whom God calls to this supernatural enterprise. Thirty-six years of failure in my own poor life, and every day I find myself worse off! Where would I be if I didn’t love the Cross? Where would I be if I didn’t live upon the Cross?
THE CROSS IS NOT JUST A SYMBOL, BUT THE EXPRESSION OF TRIUMPH: THE THRONE OF MY GOD, THE THRONE OF A VICTORIOUS KING (St. Josemaria).”
Palestrina – Gloria by The Tudor Consort is licensed under an Attribution License in http://freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Tudor_Consort/~/03_Gloria
VIDEO PHOTO SOURCES:
OBRAS DE JUAN DE MESA in http://cofrades.sevilla.abc.es/profiles/blogs/obras-de-juan-de-mesa-1-parte. Cristo del Amor.Parroquia del Divino Salvador. Sevilla 1618-20. Cristo de la Buena Muerte Capilla Universitaria. Sevilla 1620 and flickr.com by ybamm
Copia del Cristo de la Buena Muerte, obra maestra del cordobés Juan de Mesa (1618) realizada para la Casa Profesa de los Jesuitas(SEVILLA) en https://josemariacamarasalmeron.blogspot.com.es/2014_02_01_archive.html
Cristo del Amor por Elena Melero en cofreadessevilla.abc.es/photo/el-amor-120