“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
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
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. 6:14
But it behooves us to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection: by whom we are saved, and delivered. — (Ps. 66. 2). May God have mercy on us and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . — But it behooves us to glory . . .
O God, Who on this day dost gladden us by the yearly feast of the Exaltation of the holy Cross: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who on earth, acknowledge the Mystery of Redemption wrought upon it, may be found worthy to enjoy the rewards of that same Redemption in heaven. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
EPISTLE Philipp. 2:5-11
Brethren, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a Name which is above all names: [Here all genuflect.] that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.
GRADUAL Philipp. 2:8, 9
Christ became obedient for us unto death: even the death of the cross. V.: Wherefore God also hath exalted Him, and hath given a Name which is above every name.
Alleluia, alleluia. V.: Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the load that hangs on thee: thou only wast worthy to bear up the King and Lord of heaven. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 12:31-36
At that time: Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews, Now is the judgement of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself. (Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.) The multitude answered Him, We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest Thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is the Son of Man? Jesus therefore said to them, Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light; that you may be the children of light.
By the sign of the holy Cross, O Lord, protect Thy people from the wiles of all our enemies that we may be able to do Thee worthy service, and that our sacrifice may be well-pleasing in Thy sight. Alleluia.
We who are about to feed on the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom the banner of the holy Cross was sanctified, beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that since we have been found worthy to venerate that same holy sign, it may be ours to enjoy forevermore the salvation secured for us by its triumph. Though the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth .
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross; that whence death came, thence also life might arise again, and that he, who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise:
By the sign of the Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O Thou our God.
Be present with us, O Lord our God, and do Thou, who makest us to rejoice in honor of the holy Cross, defend us evermore by its help. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth . . .
From a homily by St Andrew of Crete, Office of Readings for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.
If there had been no cross, Christ would not have been crucified. If there had been no cross, Life would not have been nailed to the tree. If he had not been nailed, the streams of everlasting life would not have welled from his side, blood and water, the cleansing of the world; the record of our sins would not have been cancelled, we would not have gained freedom, we would not have enjoyed the tree of life, paradise would not have been opened. If there had been no cross, death would not have been trodden under foot, the underworld would not have yielded up its spoils.
How great the cross, through which we have received a multitude of blessings, because, against all reckoning, the miracles and sufferings of Christ have been victorious!
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.
[For the manner of meditating on the sufferings of Christ, see the Instruction on Good Friday.]
Coloring Pages & Crafts:
Hail, O Cross, our only hope!