Sept. 14: HOMILY FOR EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS. May we “exalt” Christ’s Cross in our life.
Sept. 14: EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS. History and reflection.
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 KavadhII, 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 friends, in order to follow Christ, the Christian must take up his cross and become obedient with Christ, who was obedient until death, even death on the Cross. However, we should not consider Christ’s Cross in a pessimistic or negative manner, from which we have to hastily flee at all costs. Today’s feast reminds us of the redemptive triumph Our Lord worked on our behalf on the Cross, which is the expression of Our Lord’s immense love for us, of life, of joy, of victory over death, sin and evil.
Let us meditate on the following words of St. Josemaria on a meditation given on May 3, 1964 (Latin phrases translation and caps mine) and with the help of Our Lady, make the firm resolution of daily embracing and loving 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.
“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! IN THE SPIRIT OF OPUS DEI, 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).”
Dear brethren in Christ, may we sincerely pray: “Lord, may I “exalt” the Holy Cross, your Cross, with my thoughts, words, feelings, desires, and deed: with my life! May I love your Holy Cross willingly and gladly overcoming myself, out of love for You and for others, even though it is hard…and because it’s hard. (Cfr. St. Josemaria, Forge, 517, 519). Only then could I really show that my love for you is for real.
A Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to you and your loved ones.
Below you have some quotes which you might like to bring into your personal prayer with Our Lord. Take care and God bless! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.
ST. JOSEMARIA ON THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
+++Taken from St. Josemaria, “The Forge”+++
779 To find the Cross is to find Christ.
781 Look at Jesus hanging dead on the Cross, and pray. In this way the Life and Death of Christ can become the model and the spur of your life, and for your answer to the Will of God.
782 At the moment of sorrow or expiation, remember this: the Cross is the symbol of the redeeming Christ. It has ceased to be the symbol of evil, becoming instead the sign of victory.
785 If we join our own little things, those insignificant or big difficulties of ours, to the great sufferings of Our Lord, the Victim (He is the only Victim!), their value will increase. They will become a treasure, and then we will take up the Cross of Christ gladly and with style.And then every suffering will soon be overcome: nobody, nothing at all, will be able to take away our peace and our cheerfulness.
786 To be an apostle you have to bear within you Christ crucified, as Saint Paul teaches us.
787 It’s true: when the Holy Cross comes into our lives it unmistakably confirms that we are his, Christ’s.
788 The Cross is not pain, or annoyance, or bitterness. It is the holy wood on which Jesus Christ triumphs… and where we triumph too, when we receive what He sends us with cheerful and generous hearts.
789 You have come to see that, after the Holy Sacrifice, it is on your Faith and your Love, on your penance, your prayer and your activity, that the perseverance, and even the life on earth of your people to a great extent depend.Bless the Cross: the Cross that He — my Lord Jesus — and you and I bear.
517 When you celebrated the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross you asked Our Lord, with the most earnest desire of your heart, to grant you his grace so as to “exalt” the Holy Cross in the powers of your soul and in your senses. You asked for a new life; for the Cross to set a seal on it, to confirm the truth of your mission; for the whole of your being to rest on the Cross!We shall see…
519 To love the Cross means being able to put oneself out, gladly, for the love of Christ, though it’s hard — and because it’s hard. You have enough experience to know that this is not a contradiction.
MEME PHOTO SOURCE: Cristo de Sciancalepore (bronze sculpture) in https://secretosdetorreciudad.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/el-cristo-de-oro-de-torreciudad/
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