Holy Cross Day
History of Feast
Eusibuius on Helena and Constantine
O GOD, who dost gladden us upon this day by the festival of the Holy Cross : grant that we who have acknowledged the mystery of redemption here on earth, may rejoice in the everlasting fruits therof in heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Numbers xxi. 4, Gal vi.ll, Psalm 143, John xii. 31.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me
Numbers xxi. 4.
AND they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Gal vi. 11
YE see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
John xii. 31
NOW is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
JC Ryle: The Cross: A Call to the Fundamentals of Religions
An Homily of Leo
Bishop of Rome [ca 450]
Dearly beloved, when we look to Christ lifted up on the cross, the eyes of faith see more than what the wicked saw, unto whom it was said through Moses: And thy Life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shall fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy Life. They saw in the Crucified nothing but the work of their own wickedness. As it is written: They feared greatly. But their fear was not unto faith, which giveth life by justification, but unto the torture of their own bad conscience. But our understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of Truth. And so with pure and open hearts we can see the glory of the Cross shining over heaven and earth, and discern by inward sight what the Lord meant when his passion was nigh at hand, and he said: Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out; and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
O HOW wonderful is the power of the Cross! O how unutterable is the glory of the Passion, wherein standeth the Lord's judgment-seat, and the judgment of this world, and the might of the Crucified! Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all men and all things unto thee! Albeit thou didst spread out thine hands all the day unto an unbelieving and gainsaying people, yet the world was made to feel and own thy Majesty! Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! For the senseless elements gave one wild cry of horror at the iniquity of Jewry; the lights of the firmament were darkened; day was turned into night; earth quaked with strange tremblings; and thus all God's works refused to serve the guilty. Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! For the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, and thus the Holy of Holies denied itself as a sanctuary for the ministration of unworthy priests, that the shadow might be changed for the substance, prophecy for realization, and the Law for the Gospel.
Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! What was once veiled under types and shadows in the one Jewish Temple, is now hailed by the love of all peoples in full and open worship everywhere. There is now a higher order of Levites, a more honourable rank of Elders, a priesthood with an holier anointing. Thy Cross is for all men a well of blessings and a cause of thanksgiving. Thereby for them that believe in thee, weakness is turned into strength, shame into glory, and death into life. The changing ordinance of divers carnal sacrifices is gone; the one oblation of thy Body and Blood fulfilleth them all. For thou art the true paschal Lamb that takest away the sins of the world. Thou art thyself the accomplishment of all mysteries, so that as now there is one Sacrifice in place of many victims, so there shall be one kingdom composed of all peoples.
LIFT HIGH THE CROSS