Sunday, September 14, 2014
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This feast is also called the Triumph of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas.
The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.
In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, after Emperor Heraclius of Constantinople recaptured the cross of Christ from the Persians and returned it to Jerusalem.
On this feast day, we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. We revere the instrument by which Jesus Christ, Our Lord, saved us. Once an object of scorn, the cross has become our “glory."
We, too, embrace the cross which He gives to us, because, as Christians, we are given the honor to share in His sufferings. If we stand up for Him in our beliefs, we can expect to be mocked, ridiculed, and persecuted. But, we can also expect that Jesus Christ will be there with us, in the midst our sufferings, giving us the graces we need.
The Cross contains in itself the mystery of salvation, because, in the Cross, Love is lifted up. This is the lifting up of Love to the supreme point in the history of the world: in the Cross Love is lifted up and the Cross is at the same time lifted up through Love. And from the height of the Cross, love comes down to us. Yes: "The Cross is the most profound condescension of God to man . . . The Cross is like a touch of eternal love upon the most painful wounds of man’s existence" (Pope St. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia,8)
The Saints on Suffering and the Cross:
"Life is only a dream: soon, we shall awaken. And what joy! The greater our sufferings, the more limitless our glory. Oh! do not let us waste the trial that Jesus sends."
~ St. Therese of Lisieux
"If you really want to love Jesus, first learn to suffer, because suffering teaches you to love."
~ St. Gemma Galgani
If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint.
~ St. Ignatius Loyola
Suffering is like a kiss that Jesus hanging from the cross bestows on persons whom He loves in a special way. Because of this love He wants to associate them in the work of the redemption.
~ St. Bonaventure
"Let us strive to face suffering with Christian courage. Then all difficulties will vanish and pain itself will become transformed into joy."
~ St. Teresa of Avila
"It is loving the Cross that one finds one heart, for Divine Love cannot live without suffering."
~ St. Bernadette
"One must not think that a person who is suffering is not praying. He is offering up his sufferings to God, and many a time he is praying much, more truly than one who goes away by himself and meditates his head off, and, if he has squeezed out a few tears, thinks that is prayer."
~ St. Teresa of Avila
"Even if Jesus lays on us some part of the Cross, He is there to help us bear it with self, sacrifice and love."
~ St. John XXIII
"The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you."
~ St. Louis de Montfort
"From here on earth, Love cannot live without suffering. It is through loving the cross that we discover His Heart, for divine Love never lives without suffering. I want my whole life to be inspired by love. He who loves, does all things easily, or, if he suffers, he suffers bravely. Why is suffering necessary? Because on earth, pure love cannot exist without suffering. O Jesus, Jesus, I no longer feel my cross when I think of yours!"
~ St. Bernadette Soubirous
"You will be consoled according to the greatness of your sorrow and affliction; the greater the suffering, the greater will be the reward."
~ St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi
"Jesus said to me; 'How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me."
~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina
"When we must do something we dislike, let us say to God, ' My God I offer You this in honor of the moment when You died for me.' "
~ St. John Vianney
"The cross will never oppress you; its weight might cause you to stagger, but its strength will sustain you." ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina
"If you embrace all things in this life as coming from the hands of God, and even embrace death to fulfill His holy will, assuredly you will die a saint."
~ St. Alphonsus Liguori
"We are co-redeemers of the world. And souls are not redeemed without the cross."
~ St. Teresa of the Andes
The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.
~ St. John of the Cross
"Let us understand that God is a physician, and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation."
~ St. Augustine of Hippo
"When the cross is embraced it becomes a sign of love and of total self-giving. To carry it behind Christ means to be united with him in offering the greatest proof of love … the choice is between a full life and an empty existence, between truth and falsehood."
~ Pope St. John Paul II in Pope John Paul II's MESSAGE TO THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD, THE XVI WORLD YOUTH DAY, 14 February 2001.