Friday, September 14, 2012

The Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today, we are celebrating the Feast of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Holy Cross .
Everywhere we look, the symbol of the Holy Cross is present to remind us of the infinite sacrifice that the Lord Jesus did for our redemption. The sign of the Cross is found in the Sacred Liturgy. The Holy Cross is in the Rite of Adoration. It is the symbol of blessing. It is found in the dedication of Churches, in the Schools, the homes, Hospitals, Seminaries, Convents, Religious Order, Crusades and even in cemeteries.
Today, let us look up to the Holy Cross as our symbol of faith and salvation. Let us always honour the work of Christ that was manifested through the Holy Cross, the true symbol of love, compassion and forgiveness.
Over and above being the symbol of Christianity, the Holy Cross brings to light many fundamental truths that are being taught by the Holy Catholic Church .
The Holy Cross is the symbol of Divine Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.
The Holy Cross is the symbol of Salvation. Through Jesus Christ and the Sacrament of Baptism, those who believe in Him and obey His teachings, they will enjoy eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Cross is the symbol of Divine Mercy and Compassion. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but in order that the world may be saved through Jesus.
The history of the Holy Cross, its recapture in 629 A.D., reveals to us the Divine power of God that is behind this most Sacred object on which the Blood of Christ was shed for the sins of mankind.

In regards to the Holy Cross itself, when the Body of Jesus was removed from it, to prevent His followers from finding it, the Cross was thrown in a ditch or well, and then covered with stones and earth.
According to the history , Helena Augustas, mother of Constantine, at the age of 80 travels to the Holy Land and finds the True Cross, the cross upon which Christ was crucified.
The visit takes place around 325, when Constantine initiates the construction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and informs the bishop to spare no expense. This martyrium encloses what is believed to be the site of the tomb of Christ as well as Golgotha.
Helena visits the Holy Land to show a presence of the emperor and to view the places where Christ had lived and died. She becomes interested in locating the True Cross. There are several versions on how the cross is found. In some, Helena has a dreams telling her where the cross is buried. In another tradition, the Ethiopian Coptic tradition still celebrated as Mesquel, she follows smoke from a bonfire to the site.
In the version that receives the most circulation and became popular in the middle ages, she asks the people of Jerusalem to tell her the location. When the Jewish leaders of the city are silent, she places one of them, a man named Judas, in a well until he agrees to show her the site. After seven days, he prays to God for guidance and reveals the location. Afterwards, Judas converts to Christianity, and takes the name Kyriakis, "he who belongs to the Lord."
Helena finds the three crosses, nails, and title under a pagan temple. To determine which is the right cross, a dead girl is brought to the site. Upon being touched by the True cross, she is restored to life.
Helena is made a saint for her role in finding the cross and becomes the model for a Christian empress due to her many acts of charity. Part of the trip was to promote good will for her son, especially after he had apparently executed his wife and his favorite son, and to redress the wrongs inflicted on Christians by the other emperor, Licinius, who Constantine had recently defeated and killed.
A portion of the cross remained in Jerusalem, where it was exhibited on certain Holy Days. The remainder was divided between Rome and Constantinople. A portion of the title is sent to Rome, where it is hidden and then found again in the 16th centuryIn 614, Chosroes II, the King of Persia, invaded Syria and Palestine, at which time he carried away many of the great treasures of Jerusalem, including the relic of the True Cross. In 629, Emperor Heraclius of Constantinople marched into Persia and recapture the True Cross, seeing to it that Heraclius piously bring it back to Jerusalem while being clothed in sackcloth of penance and barefoot. On September 14 th, the Sacred Cross was restored to its place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. To commemorate this victory, in the 7 th century, the Church of Rome adopted the "Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross" on September 14 th.

Blessed Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross for everyone !

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Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen