Today’s liturgical observance of the Holy Cross is a fitting day to ask what we understand it to mean. Because the Cross is the key that unlocks the door of our salvation, Christians ought to ask themselves what they believe the Cross to mean. When you encounter the Cross, what does it really mean for the Church, for you, for those who see the Cross on your person? With the proliferation of the image of the Cross in various places it’s power is not diminished as much as our recognition of the meaning of may have. The Cross in any media is not a decoration for a building, a body, a cake or a book, the Cross is not merely one symbol among others; the Cross is not a talisman that can be summoned upon demand. As Saint Paul says, the Cross is our glory. Catholics learn the meaning of things in the Faith by looking at what is prayed at the sacred Liturgy. Hence, taking time with the antiphons, the Collect and the Preface of a given Mass will indicate what we believe.
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. (excerpted from the Preface)
We adore you Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.