O Crux, ave spes unica!
“How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life.”
~Theodore of Studios
THE EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
Traditional & New Calendar – September 14
GREATER DOUBLE / RED
This feast commemorates both the dedication of the basilica built by Constantine for the Holy Sepulcher, and also the return of the True Cross to Jerusalem by Emperor Heraclius of Judea during the seventh century. After Heraclius had recovered it by force from King Chosroes of Persia, he tried to carry it along the Via Dolorosa to Calvary, but was unable to make any headway. Bishop Zachary of Jerusalem, pointing to his luxurious clothing, said, "Attired in these rich robes, you are far from imitating the poverty of Jesus Christ and His humility in bearing His Cross." The Emperor caught the hint–and went on to Calvary barefooted and wearing a simple cloak, carried the holy Cross to the Basilica on Calvary [A.D. 629].
INTROIT Gal. 6:14But it is fitting that we should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is salvation, life, and resurrection for us, by whom we are saved and delivered.
Ps. 66:2. May God have mercy on us and bless us; may He let His face shine upon us; and may He have mercy upon us.
V. Glory be . . .
On the Cross human misery and divine mercy meet. The adoration of this unlimited mercy is for man the only way to open himself to the mystery which the Cross reveals.
The Cross is planted in the earth and would seem to extend its roots in human malice, but it reaches up, pointing as it were to the heavens, pointing to the goodness of God. By means of the Cross of Christ, the Evil One has been defeated, death is overcome, life is given to us, hope is restored, light is imparted. O Crux, ave spes unica!
~Pope John Paul II – Homily September 14, 2003
What is meant by the Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross is a devotion, approved by the Pope, by which we meditate upon the passion and death of Christ, and especially upon His last way of sorrow to Mount Calvary.
How did this devotion originate?
The pathway which our Lord Jesus Christ had to follow from Jerusalem to Mount Calvary, was the real Way of the Cross. His holy Mother, and other pious women, as also the beloved disciple St. John, followed Him on this painful journey; (Matt, XXVII. 56. John XIX. 25, 26.) and the apostles and early Christians animated by veneration for these places, made sacred by the sufferings and death of Jesus, often traversed the same pathway. In the same spirit, in later times, many came from the most distant countries to Jerusalem to visit these sacred places to increase their devotion. In time, pictures, representing different scenes of the sufferings of our Lord, were erected along this route, and were called Stations; when the Saracens conquered the Holy Land, in consequence of which visits to it became dangerous, almost impossible, the Roman pontiffs permitted the erection of stations of the cross in other countries. The first to erect stations in their churches were members of the Franciscan Order, and by degrees this devotion, supported by the Roman pontiffs and favored by indulgences, spread throughout the entire Church. A pathway was sought which led to elevated ground; this elevation was called the Mount of the Cross or Mount Calvary, and along the route pictures representing our Lord’s sufferings, as related by the evangelists, or made known by tradition, were erected, or else the pictures were hung in churches, and the place where they stood, or the pictures themselves, were called stations; of these there are fourteen.
Is the practice of this devotion of the Way of the Cross of great value?
Next to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and holy Communion, there is certainly no devotion which represents better to us the sufferings and death of Christ than the Way of the Cross. St. Albertus Magnus says: "A simple remembrance of Christ’s sufferings is worth more than fasting on bread and water every Friday for a year, and scourging one’s self unto blood." St. Bernard gives us the reason of this, when he says: "Who can consider the sufferings of Christ and be so void of religion as to remain untouched; so proud that he will not humble himself; so vindictive that he will not forgive; so fond of pleasure that he will not abstain from it; so hard-hearted that he will not repent of his sins?" And St. Augustine says: "What pride, what avarice, what anger can be cured otherwise than by the humility, the poverty, the patience of the Son of God? All these virtues are found in carefully meditating on that way of pain which our Saviour went, and along which we should follow Him." On this account several of the Popes, among others Clement XII. and Benedict XIV., have granted many indulgences to the performance of this devotion; indulgences which may be applied to the suffering souls in purgatory.
LOVE AND THE CROSS
The Church proposes that we consider the penitential aspect of our lives one day each week – on Fridays – by reflecting on the Passion of Christ. On this day, many Christians consider with greater care the sorrowful mysteries of Christ’s life, or they accompany him on the Way of the Cross, or they read or meditate on his Passion. It is a good day to examine more carefully how we habitually bear contradictions and the generosity – fruit of love with which we seek out voluntary mortifications in little things; or how we struggle against our selfishness, laziness or the desire to be well thought of, to be the centre of attention. Other points for examination might include the small mortifications that make the lives of others more enjoyable; being cordial in our dealings with others; not giving into bad moods that perhaps will lead to brusque manners; smiling when we tend to be more serious; being punctual in our work or studies; eating a little less of what we like most or a little more of what we like least; not eat ing between meals; keeping our desk, wardrobe or room neat and orderly; not giving in to curiosity; guarding our senses with refinement; not complaining about excessive heat or cold or heavy traffic…
~Fr. Francis Fernandez In Conversation with God
Women for Faith and Family
- If possible attend Mass together. Consider taking your family to a church that has especially fine Stations of the Cross. Look at the images and explain their meaning. At each Station pray, "We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee, for by thy Cross thou hast redeemed the world". At the end, have the children kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and say a Hail Mary, an Our Father, and a Glory be.
- Make the evening meal today more festive than ordinary — light candles on the table or use the good dishes.
- Read one or more of the prayers or scripture readings for the day before the evening meal. Older children could take turns doing the readings.
- Begin teaching even the very youngest members of the family to make the Sign of the Cross at the end of the mealtime prayers. (Older brothers and sisters usually will be very glad to help the baby with this.)
- Explain to children the meaning of the Sign of the Cross that we make before meals, and point out how this action is intended to unite every one of us with Jesus’ sacrifice for us — His crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead.
- Make a point of mentioning how great is God’s loves for us. Encourage children to memorize John 3:16. This is a key verse about the triumph of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, and encourages children to revere and respect God’s word in the Bible. Give a small reward or privilege to each child who memorizes the verse. Have them recite it for you when they say their bedtime prayers.
- Two suggestions:
— Have grade-school-age children write the verse in their fanciest writing and illustrate it with a drawing of Jesus on the Cross. Even little people think a lot when they are drawing something. Maybe you could set a crucifix on the table for them to look at when they draw it. (Don’t forget to display the results on the refrigerator — or maybe send it to grandma.)
— Frost a sheet cake with white icing, and make a large Cross on the cake with red icing, and pipe "John 3:16" on the Cross. Let the children help decorate the cake further by sprinkling it with silver dragees or colored sprinkles.
- If there are crucifixes in the children’s rooms, make sure to call attention to it at bedtime prayers. If not, today would be a very good time to get them.
- Good News and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Audio Sancto
- Exaltation of the Cross – Fish Eaters
- Exaltation of the Holy Cross Novena
- Exaltation of the Holy Cross Holy Card
- Exaltation of the Cross and Basil – Fr. Z
- Prayer Before a Crucifix
Coloring Pages & Crafts:
“Lord Jesus, I have received the cross, I have received it from Thy hand: and I will bear it until death, as Thou hast laid it upon me. indeed the life of a good religious man is a cross, but it is cross that conducts him to Paradise.” ~Imitation of Christ, Bk 3
Hail, O Cross, our only hope!