Tag Archives: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily, Italy. 12th-13th cenFrom a Homily by John Paul II, 14 September 2003:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Cross is the “privileged place” where the love of God is revealed and shown to us. 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.

In the Garden of Eden, at the foot of the tree, there was a woman, Eve (cf. Gen 3). Seduced by the Evil One, she takes possession of what she thinks is divine life. Instead it is a seed of death which enters into her (cf. Jas 1:15; Rom 6:23).

On Calvary, at the foot of the tree of the cross, there was another woman, Mary (cf. Jn 19:25-27). Accepting God’s plan, she shares intimately in the Son’s gift of self to the Father for the life of the world and, receiving from Jesus the entrustment of John the Apostle, she becomes the Mother of all mankind.

Image: Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily, Italy. 12th-13th century.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross


He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24)

Today is the solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is our firm and certain belief that Jesus’ death transfigures us into true life. The Cross is the key to Heaven. Today, we are reminded again that that Jesus Christ’s Death and Resurrection changed everything!

Ave Crux Spes Unica!

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross!

Exaltation of the Holy Cross




O Cross our one reliance hail!
So may thy power with us avail
To give new virtue to the Saint,
And pardon to the penitent.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

triumph of the crossToday’s Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: “We Adore You O Christ, and We Bless You, Because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the world!”

This feast celebrates two historical events: the discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, in AD 320 under the temple of Venus in Jerusalem. The feast is also memorialized in the basilica of the Holy Cross in Rome, a church constructed by Helen. In the USA, the metropolitan cathedral of Boston honors this feast with the name of Holy Cross. It is also the dedication in AD 335 of the basilica and shrine built on Calvary by Emperor Constantine, which mark the site of the Crucifixion.

The greatness of this feast reminds us that the Cross is the instrument, the vehicle of our salvation; touching our lips to the glorious cross of our redemption, we  take up the crosses in our own lives and accept and reverence them as well.  And by God’s grace we are able to carry our cross to the natural conclusion.

Saint Andrew of Crete tells us: “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 canceled, 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.”



The Exaltation of the Cross

Spes unicaToday the Church celebrates the feast of The Exaltation of the Cross. You’ll also hear the feast called, The Triumph of the Cross. Whatever we say, today recalls Saint Helena’s finding the True Cross of the Lord. A gift of the Church is to incrementally teach and live the various mysteries of the faith. And there is a wisdom in this method because we slowly come to incorporate ourselves into the Divine Life.

One of the antiphons for the sacred Liturgy says,

“We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection: through him we are saved and made free.”

As Pope Francis said this morning at Mass, this mystery can only be approached from the stance of prayer and tears.

The words spes unica come to mind. I learned these words when I was a student of the Brothers of the Holy Cross. They are the same words that the tradition of the Church indicates with the the phrase used when making the Stations of the Cross: We adore you O Christ and we bless you. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

So, what do Christians mean in this feast, in exalting an object of Roman torture? The Cross is the key that unlocks true nature of love; the cross shows us that redemption is a serious matter; God’s work of redemption through the passion and death of Jesus on the cross is the greatest work of the Trinity in that death leads to resurrection –death is defeated by death itself– and communion with God is now possible again. Second, the Cross reminds us that God the Father is directly involved with our human history; it is not an abstract event; God knows us and walks with us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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