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제목 The Mystery of The Holy Cross - The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
작성자 관리자 작성일 2014-11-04

 

 


The Mystery of The Holy Cross 

-The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross(14th September 2014)  


The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross recalls a miracle of the Cross: when the Holy Cross had been recovered after a battle by the Roman Emperor Heraclius, he wanted to carry it himself, on his own shoulders, back to Mount Calvary. But at the bottom of the mount, somehow he was unable to move it at all. Then Zachary, the Bishop of Jerusalem, told him: “Beware, o Emperor: with all your imperial clothes with gems and gold, you are far from the example of poverty and humility of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Then the emperor put off all his beautiful and expensive clothes, and put on the clothes of a poor man, and then he was able to carry the cross with no difficult to the top of Mount Calvary (more a hill than a mountain, like ).

The mystery of the Cross is truly the “Mystery of Faith”, the very heart of the one true Faith: that the Son of God came down from heaven to save men is already tremendous truth, but how did He save us? By offering himself as a sacrifice on the Cross, thereby restoring the honour of His Father and paying the debt of our sins! This is truly beyond our natural comprehension. And it has been a stumbling block for many souls: Muslims refuse to accept that the Almighty God would be apparently weak on the Cross (they do not see the Victory over sin that our Lord won on His Cross); prideful people cannot accept his humility of the Son of God. Indeed St Paul says: “For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God [=He has God’s nature =He is true God], thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.” The Incarnation is already a tremendous act of humility, but then St Paul continues: “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

Sin entered into the world by pride: the pride of the Devil who refused to serve: “Non serviam – I shall not serve!” And then the pride of Adam and Eve who wanted to become like unto God: “your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5), that means, deciding for yourself what is good and what is bad for you, thus not receiving a law from above, not acknowledging God’s dominion above themselves. If we would understand the gravity of pride! A rebellion of a tiny creature against its Creator! At the root of every sin there is pride: “pride is the beginning of all sin: be that holdeth it, shall be filled with maledictions, and it shall ruin him in the end” (Eccli. 10:16).

Therefore the Son of God, Who came to save men and heal men and restore the order disturbed by sin, did not only preach humility, but practiced it in the most excellent manner from the very beginning: the very Incarnation of the Son of God is an act of humility: “He descended from Heaven” (“no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.” Jn. 3:13).

The culmination of His life was also the greatest act of humility: “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8): an act of love for His Father whose honour He restored, an act of love for us whose salvation He worked out, but essentially also an act of humility. The offering of the Sacrifice of His own body and blood is an act of the virtue of religion, virtue by which we honour the excellence of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as God, received the Sacrifice; but our Lord Jesus Christ as Man offered Himself as a Victim to the honour of the Most Holy Trinity.

In order to benefit from this sublime work of our salvation, we need to be united with our Lord Jesus Christ, in the very act of His Sacrifice. Therefore we need to humble ourselves with Him. We need to renounce ourselves with Him. But one might say: “that is too difficult, I can’t make it.” The truth is that, for our nature alone, it is indeed too difficult; but helped by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, such union with Jesus Crucified becomes a delight; and in the Saints, such delight went to such a point that they would rather die than be without a cross (St Theresa of Avila). This delight comes from the fact that the Cross is the source of all graces, and especially of Charity. There is no fire without wood: the fire of Charity feeds on the wood of the Cross. Once one has found that hidden treasure, one goes and sell all what one has in order to have it (Mt. 13:44). You might say: how can I discover that treasure? “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (Mt. 7:7-8).

The most delightful fruit of the Cross is the most Holy Eucharist: the very Body and Blood that our Lord Jesus Christ offered on the Cross, this is what nourishes ourselves in the Holy Eucharist. It is thus at the same time the most delightful fruit of the Cross, but also it strengthens us to carry our crosses and to spread the divine fire all around us.

The cross is not optional: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk. 9:23). Our Lord Jesus Christ told this to his disciples just after He had promised Peter the primacy for having confessed His Divinity: “From that time, Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again. And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men” (Mt. 16:21-23). The refusal of the cross is the spirit of the world; the love of the Cross is the Spirit of Christ. All the Saints loved the Cross.

Our Lord, Who knows our weakness, has given us His Mother to help us and guide us to the foot of the Cross. When one sees that even the strongest apostles had fled, and that only a few holy women together with St John were there at the foot of the Cross, how did it happen? Because they followed our Lady!

The Cross in our lives first of all cleanses us from our past sins; the Cross willingly accepted makes reparation for these sins and for many others. Modern man has forgotten his DEBT towards God; modern man is very much concerned about his rights, but not about what he owes others, especially what he owes God. But the true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ is very conscious of this debt towards God, and wants to make reparation, through sacrifices, personal sacrifices and most of all through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Secondly the Cross heals the wound of our sins: this is because it is the very opposite of sin. Against the sins of pride, the Cross insinuates humility; against disobedience it teaches obedience; against lust it teaches the most complete detachment of pleasures, rather embracing all the contempt and sufferings possible; against drunkenness we see our Lord Jesus Christ suffering from thirst; etc.
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And lastly the Cross heals our darkness, bringing the light of our Lord Jesus Christ: it is the candelabra upon which has been put Christ, the Light that enligtheneth every man in the world.

Practically we should take upon ourselves some simple practices of penance – and first do those which the Church has imposed upon us, especially Friday absitence.

Then we will walk upon this Royal Way of the Cross, towards the Kingdom of Heaven, where the Cross will triumph gloriously and reign for ever with the “friends of the Cross”. Amen.


 Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)