Posted by: fvbcdm | September 10, 2014

Feast of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino (10 September 2014)

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. In a few days, on September 14, the Church will celebrate what is called the Triumph or the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is a powerful concept, this role of the Cross in Christianity and in our own personal spiritual lives. Let’s list very briefly some of the aspects of this liturgical celebration of Our Divine Lord=s work on the cross:

  1. In the garden of Eden, there was the tree of the knowledge of good AND EVIL whose fruit Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. But, heeding the tempter rather than God, they ate of it. They became sinners; they lost eternal life, and introduced a whole array of problems into the human race. The early fathers and doctors of the Church used to contrast that tree with the tree of the Cross, whose fruit is Our Lord crucified. Partaking of the tree in Eden meant death; partaking of the Cross and its divine fruit means life.

  2. During the exodus, the people complained about the food that God was miraculously providing for them. He sent venomous snakes into their camp to bite and kill them. They acknowledged their wrong-doing and asked Moses to intercede for them. God told him to make an image of the poisonous snakes which brought death and mount it on a pole. This is to foretell the Cross, on which hangs an image of death in the person of Jesus, suffering and dying. We who are stung by the poison of our own mortality, look upon Him dying, and we are saved from eternal death.

  3. Then we come to the new testament, and hear Our Lord say to us, even before his sufferings and death, “If you wish to be a follower of mine, take up your cross daily and follow me.” Thus Our Lord indicates to us how useful, how effective are our sufferings, our crosses as we call them, and our own death in terms of our making atonement for our sins and those of the world. The most important thing that Christ accomplished during his life was to give that life on the Cross for our redemption. We are asked to give our lives, too—moment by moment, and then totally at their end, in union with the redemptive death of Our Lord. So the Cross, an instrument of torture and death, becomes for the Christian a beautiful symbol of triumph; suffering and death become a participation in the redemption which Jesus accomplishes for us; we speak of “mortifying” (that is, putting to death) our natural inclinations to allow the supernatural grace of God have its way in our lives.

All these ideas are contained in this feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross; in our every making of the Sign of the Cross over ourselves and over things we wish to bless; and in that powerful little prayer: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This Message was composed some years ago.

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