Day Eight Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
V/. O God + come to my assistance R/. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Gloria Patri …
Sweet Mother of Sorrows, Providence wished that Saint Helena, like you the mother of a king, find the Cross of your Son and lavish honours on this relic of relics. Grant, me Sorrowful Queen and Mother that, like Saint Helena, I always honour the symbol of our salvation, the Cross. And like the Church, may I hold it high, display and wear it with gratitude and pride. Above all, may I unite my sufferings to that of Jesus on the Cross and carry my crosses not in shame but in faith, love and patience as He did. I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched thy most loving heart at the death of your Son, Jesus. Dear Mother, by thy heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of patience in suffering and the gift of zeal for the salvation of souls and this my special intention ……………………. (mention your intention) Amen
Reflection (St Alphonsus de Liguori)
Meditation: Consider how, after the death of our Lord, two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, took Him down from the Cross and placed Him in the arms of His afflicted Mother, who received Him with unutterable tenderness and pressed Him to her bosom.
Ave Maria …
Prayer of St Alphonsus: O Mother of Sorrows, for the love of this Son, accept me for thy servant and pray to Him for me. And Thou, my Redeemer, since Thou hast died for me, permit me to love Thee, for I wish but Thee and nothing more. I love Thee, my Jesus and I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always and then do with me what Thou will. Amen
Note:As St Alphonsus has only done the Seven Sorrows, Day 8 has been adapted and included from his Stations of the Cross. However, Day 9 is from his reflections and prayers on our Mother of Sorrows.
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“Do not rejoice in the Cross only in times of peace, preserve the same faith in times of persecution. Do not be a friend to Jesus in times of peace alone, only to become His enemy in times of war. You are now receiving forgiveness for your sins and the spiritual gifts lavishly bestowed by your King so, when war breaks out, fight valiantly for your King.”
St Cyril of Jerusalem (315-387) Father and Doctor of the Church
“The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on Himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.”
St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father and Doctor of the Church
“This is that enviable and blessed Cross of Christ . . . the Cross in which alone, we must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.”
St Raymond of Peñafort (1175-1275)
“Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent!”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
“Act of Contrition
My Lord Jesus Christ, You have made this journey to die for me, with love unutterable and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You but now I love You with my whole heart and because I love You, I repent sincerely for having ever offended You. Pardon me, my God and permit me to accompany You on this journey. You go to die for love of me, I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of Thee. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.” Amen
By St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Church
“Like Jesus, we must bow our heads before our Cross and embrace it, with resignation and love. We must unite our sufferings with those of our Redeemer, for the expiation of our sins.”
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – 14 September
“Let me not boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”
It is a great thing that we are promised by the Lord but far greater is what has already been done for us and which we now commemorate.
Where were the sinners, what were they, when Christ died for them?
When Christ has already given us the gift of His death, who is to doubt that He will give the saints the gift of His own life?
Why does our human frailty hesitate to believe that mankind will one day live with God?
Who is Christ if not the Word of God: in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?
This Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us. He had no power of Himself to die for us – He had to take from us our mortal flesh.
This was the way in which, though immortal, He was able to die; the way in which He chose to give life to mortal men – He would first share with us and then enable us to share with Him.
Of ourselves, we had no power to live, nor did He of Himself have the power to die. In other words, He performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, He died; through Him, we shall live.
The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon Himself the death that He found in us, He has most faithfully promised to give us life in Himself, such as we cannot have of ourselves.
He loved us so much, that, sinless Himself, He suffered for us sinners, the punishment we deserved for our sins.
How then can He fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for He is the source of righteousness? How can He, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints, when He bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin Himself?
Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge and even openly proclaim, that Christ was Crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory.
The apostle Paul saw Christ and extolled His claim to glory. He had many great and inspired things to say about Christ but he did not say that he boasted in Christ’s wonderful works – in creating the world, since He was God with the Father, or in ruling the world, though He was also a man like us.
Rather, he said: Let me not boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
St Augustine – Sermon Guelf 3 from the Office of Readings, Monday of Holy Week
Thought for the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“Exalt – glorify, extol, praise, acclaim, pay homage to, pay tribute to, revere, reverence, venerate, worship, raise on high”
The one symbol most often identified with Jesus and His Church is the Cross.
Today we celebrate The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast traces its beginning to Jerusalem and the dedication of the church built on the site of Mount Calvary in 335. But the meaning of the Cross is deeper than any city, any celebration, any building. The Cross is a sign of suffering, a sign of human cruelty at its worst. But by Christ’s love shown in the Paschal Mystery, it has become the sign of triumph and victory, the sign of God, who is love itself.
Believers have always looked to the Cross in times of suffering. People in concentration camps, in prisons, in hospitals, in any place of suffering and loneliness, have been known to draw, trace, or form crosses and focus their eyes and hearts on them. The Cross does not explain pain and misery. It does not give us any easy answers. But it does help us to see our lives united with Christ’s.
We often make the Sign of the Cross over ourselves. We make it before prayer to help fix our minds and hearts on God. We make it after prayer, hoping to stay close to God. In trials and temptations, the Cross is a sign of strength and protection. The Cross is the sign of the fullness of life that is ours. At Baptism, too, the Sign of the Cross is used, the priest, parents, and godparents make the sign on the forehead of the child. A sign made on the forehead is a sign of belonging. By the Sign of the Cross in Baptism, Jesus takes us as His own in a unique way. Today, let us look to the Cross often. Let us make the Sign of the Cross and realise we bring our whole selves to God—our minds, souls, bodies, wills, thoughts, hearts—everything we are and will become.
O cross, you are the glorious sign of our victory.
Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.
O Wisdom, what a game you bring to perfection, what a joke you play on my Jesus. You lay bare the King of Glory, making Him a spectacle of abuse. You affix to the trunk of a tree the price of the entire world. You alone weigh and mark out how much value this mystery has in paying the debt for all transgressions From the earth you lift up on the Cross the life of all that He, drawing everything to Himself in His death, (cf Jn 12:32) might make them live.
O wise Love, what a remedy you prepare so that universal ruin be filled. Oh, what a plaster you apply to cure the wound of all. O Love, your counsel is help for those who are lost. You condemn the blameless man to save the miserable culprit. You pour out innocent blood to be able to placate enraged justice and to ransom the motto is relief for those who are miserable. You plead the cause of peace. You heed the importuning mercy. By your prudent counsel you bring help for the anxiety of all through the most gracious will of your clemency. You impose an end to universal misery through the glorious work of your mercy. O Love, what you have devised is the opportunity for salvation for those who are lost.
Behold, O Wisdom, your pantry full of loving-kindness is already open. Ah, look upon me, the culprit, standing outside the door of your charity. Ah, fill the little cloak of my poverty with the blessing of your gentleness. Behold, before you is the empty little cup of my desire.” (cf Ps 37:10) Ah, lay the latch of your fullness open.… Ah, do not treat me according to my sins nor repay me according to my iniquities (Ps 102:10), my Jesus. Ah, just as You have truly been favourable to me with Your blood, so also by virtue of Your precious Cross, make restitution to me for all the wastefulness of my life.
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Gospel: John 3:13–17
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us, who are being saved, it is the power of God…
1 Corinthians 1:18
“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your Cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. .. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead.”
St Ephrem the Syrian (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
“The Cross is the hope of Christians, the staff of the lame, the comfort of the poor, the destruction of all pride, the victory over devils, the guide of youth, the pilot of mariners, the refuge of those who are in danger, the counsellor of the just, the rest of the afflicted, the physician of the sick, the glory of Martyrs.”
St John Chrysostom (347-407)
Father & Doctor of the Church
“Christ, who is your life, is hanging before you, so that you may look at the Cross, as in a mirror. There you will be able to know, how mortal were your wounds, that no medicine other than. the Blood of the Son of God, could heal. If you look closely, you will be able to realise, how great your human dignity and your value are…. Nowhere other than looking at himself, in the mirror of the Cross, can man better understand how much he is worth”
St Anthony of Padua OFM (1195-1231) Doctor of the Church
“Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.“
St Rose of Lima (1586-1617)
We have always seen, that those who were closest to Christ our Lord, were those with the greatest trials. Let us look at what His glorious Mother suffered and the glorious apostles. Take up the Cross of Jesus. Help your Spouse to carry the burden that weighs Him down and pay no attention to what they may say about you. If you should happen to stumble and fall like your Spouse, do not withdraw from the Cross or abandon it. No matter how great your trials may be, you will see, that they are quite small, in comparison to His.
Blessed Teresa Maria of the Cross OCD (1846–1910)
“One ounce of a Cross is much better than a ton of books of prayer.”
“Anyone who seeks heaven but without suffering, is like someone who wants to buy goods, without paying.”
Blessed Jacques Ghazir Haddad (1875-1954)
“…only the Cross of Christ sheds light on the path of this life…. God is in the detached heart, in the silence of prayer, in the voluntary sacrifice to pain, in the emptiness of the world and its creatures. God is in the Cross and, as long as we do not love the Cross, we will not see Him, or feel Him…. If the world and men knew…. But they will not know, they are very busy in their interests, their hearts are very full of things that are not God.”
St Rafael Arnáiz Barón (1911-1938)
“The life of each and every one of us has been written. The crucifix is my autobiography. The blood is the ink. The nails the pen. The skin the parchment. On every line of that body, I can trace my life. In the crown of thorns I can read my pride.In the hands that are dug with nails, I can read avarice and greed. In the flesh hanging from him like purple rags, I can read my lust. In feet that are fettered, I can find the times that I ran away and would not let Him follow. Any sin that you can think of is written there.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Gospel: John 3:13–17
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”…John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light… Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, Life Itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if Life had not been nailed to it, they would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled… The cross is called Christ’s glory, it is saluted as His triumph.”….St Andrew of Crete (650-740)
PRAYER – O God, who willed that Your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known His mystery on earth, may merit the grace of His redemption in heaven. For You placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O cross, You are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus. We adore you Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. Amen
Our Morning Offering – 14 September – Feast The Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Feast and A Marian Saturday within the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows
O Mary, Sorrowful Mother By St John Paul II (1920-2005)
O Mary, sorrowful Mother,
you are a silent witness
of these decisive moments
for the history of salvation.
Give us your eyes
so that on the face of the crucified One,
disfigured by pain,
we may recognise
the image of the glorious Risen One.
Help us to embrace Him
and entrust ourselves to Him,
so that we be made worthy
of His promises.
Help us to be faithful today
and throughout our lives.
St Pope John Paul prayed this prayer on the Conclusion of the Palm Sunday homily, 13 April 2003 during the Eighteenth World Youth Day.
Quote/s of the Day – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.”
Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) The Inner Life
“The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.”
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) Doctor of the Church
The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. The cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it is not one inch too large nor one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church
Camillus wanted to have on his habit the Sign of the Cross in order ‘to demonstrate that this is a religion of the Cross… so that those who want to follow our way of life will get ready… to follow Jesus Christ unto death’. He wanted it to be dark red ‘because more like the true wood of the most holy Cross on which the Redeemer of the World died and was appended’.
St Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)
“Oh cherished cross! Through thee my most bitter trials are replete with graces!”
St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775)
“Everything is a reminder of the Cross. We ourselves are made in the shape of a cross.”
St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“Let us not forget, that Jesus not only suffered but also rose in glory; so, too, we go to the glory of the Resurrection, by way of suffering and the Cross.”
St Maximillian Kolbe (1894 -1941)
“There is line from the illuminator of the St John’s Bible that states: “We have to love our way out of this.” There is nothing wimpy or namby-pamby or blind about this conviction. When we love extravagantly, we are not purposely blinding ourselves to moral realities— just the contrary.
Love is not a sentiment, but “a harsh and dreadful thing,” as Dostoevsky said.
This is just what Jesus shows on His terrible cross. And this is just what we, His followers, must imitate. Taking up the cross means, not just being willing to suffer but being willing to suffer as He did, absorbing violence and hatred through our forgiveness and nonviolence.”
One Minute Reflection – 14 September – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
“…And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”...John 3:14-15
REFLECTION – “From now on, through the cross, all shadows have been dispelled and the truth arises, as the apostle John says: “The old order has passed away; all things are new” (Rv 21:4-5). Death has been stripped of prey, hell’s captives liberated; man is set free; the Lord reigns; creation rejoices. The cross is victorious and all nations, races, languages and peoples (Rv 7:9) come to adore him. Together, in the cross we find our joy, exclaiming with blessed Paul: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6:14). The cross gives light to the whole universe; it casts out darkness and gathers nations together in charity into one Church, one faith, one baptism, from West and East, from the North and from the seas. It stands at the very centre of the world, set up on Calvary.
Armed with the cross, the Apostles go out to preach and gather together in adoration of it the whole universe, treading under foot every hostile power. Through it the martyrs have bravely confessed the faith, fearless of tyrants’ cunning. Having taken it upon themselves, monks have joyfully made solitude their home.
When Christ returns, this cross will first appear in heaven, the Great King’s precious sceptre, living, true and holy. “Then,” says the Lord, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven” (Mt 24:30). We will see it escorted by angels, illuminating the earth from one end of the universe to the other, brighter than the sun, proclaiming the Day of the Lord.”…Homily attributed to Saint Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth, may merit the grace of His redemption in heaven.
For you placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the Cross, so that, where death arose, life might again spring forth and the evil one, who conquered on a tree, might likewise on a tree be conquered through Christ. O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory. Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.
We adore You Christ and we praise You, for by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world. Amen
St Aelia Flaccilla
St Albert of Jerusalem (1149-1215)
Bl Claude Laplace
St Cormac of Cashel
St Crescentian of Carthage
St Crescentius of Rome
St Generalis of Carthage
St Giulia Crostarosa
St Jean Gabriel Taurin du Fresse
St Maternus of Cologne
Bl Pedro Bruch Cotacáns
St Rosula of Carthage
St Victor of Carthage
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – 14 September, also called Feast of the Triumph of the Cross and Holy Cross Feast.
This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mount Calvary by St Helena and preserved in Jerusalem but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.
The lessons from the Breviary tell us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mount Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: “Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross.” The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey.
In celebration of the discovery of the Holy Cross, Constantine ordered the construction of churches at the site of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary. Those churches were dedicated on September 13 and 14, 335 and shortly thereafter the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated on the latter date.
The feast slowly spread from Jerusalem to other churches, until, by the year 720, the celebration was universal.
The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy. When Moses lifted up the bronze serpent over the people, it was a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. Our Mother Church sings of the triumph of the Cross, the instrument of our redemption. To follow Christ we must take up His cross, follow Him and become obedient until death, even if it means death on the cross. We identify with Christ on the Cross and become co-redeemers, sharing in His suffering and Cross.
We make the Sign of the Cross before prayer which helps to fix our minds and hearts to God. After prayer we make the Sign of the Cross to keep close to God. During trials and temptations our strength and protection is the Sign of the Cross. At Baptism we are sealed with the Sign of the Cross, signifying the fullness of redemption and that we belong to Christ. Let us look to the cross frequently, and realize that when we make the Sign of the Cross we give our entire self to God — mind, soul, heart, body, will, thoughts.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF THE HOLY CROSS?
It’s easy to understand that the Cross is special because Christ used it as the instrument of our salvation. But after His Resurrection, why would Christians continue to look to the Cross? Christ Himself offered us the answer: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The point of taking up our own cross is not simply self-sacrifice; in doing so, we unite ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ on His Cross.
When we participate in the Mass, the Cross is there, too. The “unbloody sacrifice” offered on the altar is the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. When we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we do not simply unite ourselves to Christ; we nail ourselves to the Cross, dying with Christ so that we might rise with Him.
“For the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block and unto the Gentiles foolishness . . . ” (1 Corinthians 1:22-23). Today, more than ever, non-Christians see the Cross as foolishness. What kind of Saviour triumphs through death?
For Christians, however, the Cross is the crossroads of history and the Tree of Life. Christianity without the Cross is meaningless: only by uniting ourselves to Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross can we enter into eternal life.
O cross, you are the glorious sign of victory.
Through your power may we share in the triumph of Christ Jesus.