Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross, a feast I had never heard of until very recently.  I showed up at daily Mass, as I usually do on Tuesdays, and was surprised to smell incense.  Apparently, this must have be an important feast!

I should have known better since I am aware that our parish is blessed with a relic of the True Cross.  Usually, it is partly out of view in the tabernacle, but today it sat on the altar for all to see (similar to the photo at left).  At the beginning of Mass, Father X told us that we would be able to venerate the relic and receive a blessing after Mass.  The usual daily Mass group was present, but I wondered, "Why is the church not overflowing with parishioners and visitors at the prospect of this great honor?"

The readings for Mass today remind us that the foretelling of Jesus' death on a cross goes all the way back to Moses and the book of Exodus.  The cross, an instrument of torture and death, has become a symbol for eternal life through Jesus' ultimate sacrifice.  Every time we make the Sign of the Cross, we recall this sacrifice and proudly show the world that we are Catholic Christians.

The Sacrifice of the Mass moved me to tears today as Father X said the Eucharistic Prayer in Latin, and the presence of the relic on the altar really focused my attention on the fact that we offer Jesus' sacrifice to the Father during every Mass.

After Mass, it was a supreme honor to venerate the relic with a kiss and then to be blessed by the relic as Father X touched it gently to my forehead, then made the Sign of the Cross with the relic over my head.  Being so close to the instrument of Jesus' sacrifice has has a profound effect on me today.  I only hope that it will aid me in my quest to become more Christ-like.

Related links:

Excellent article about the history of this feast on Catholic Culture.  I especially enjoyed the story of the Emperor Heraclius' inability to carry the True Cross up to Calvary.

As I posted before, The Living Wood, by Louis De Wohl, is a terrific book about St. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, and how she discovered the True Cross. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The novena for this feast was part of our continual prayers for the recovery from surgery for my husband 11 years ago. When I noticed that the next day is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows we prayed that novena too. We thank Christ Crucified and Our Lady at the foot of the cross for mercy and healing.