The sign of the Cross


- Origin of the feast.

 By the Passion of Our Lord, the Cross is not a scaffold of ignominy, but a throne of glory. O Cross that conquers, O Cross that reigns, O Cross that cleanses from all sin, O Cross that cleanses from all sin, O Cross that conquers, O Cross that reigns, O Cross that cleanses from all sin! Alleluia.

The feast we celebrate today has its origin in Jerusalem in the first centuries of Christianity. According to ancient testimony, it began to be celebrated on the anniversary of the day on which the Cross of Our Lord was found. Its celebration spread with great rapidity to the East and a little later to the whole of Christendom. In Rome, the procession which, before Mass, to venerate the Cross3, went from St. Mary Major to St. John Lateran, had great solemnity.

At the beginning of the 7th century, the Persians sacked Jerusalem, destroyed many basilicas and seized the sacred relics of the Holy Cross, which would be recovered a few years later by Emperor Heraclius. A pious tradition tells that when the emperor, dressed in the insignia of royalty, wanted to personally carry the Holy Wood to its original place on Calvary, its weight became more and more unbearable. Zechariah, Bishop of Jerusalem, made him see that in order to carry the Holy Cross he should divest himself of the imperial insignia and imitate the poverty and humility of Christ, who had embraced it detached from everything. Heraclius then wore the humble clothes of a pilgrim and, barefoot, was able to carry the Holy Cross to the summit of Golgotha

It is possible that as children we learned to make the sign of the Cross on our foreheads, on our lips and in our hearts, as an external sign of our profession of faith. In the Liturgy, the Church uses the sign of the Cross on altars, in worship, in sacred buildings. It is the tree of the richest fruits, a powerful weapon, which drives away all evils and frightens away the enemies of our salvation: By the sign of the Holy Cross, deliver us from our enemies, O Lord, we pray every day as we sign ourselves. The Cross teaches a Father of the Church "is the shield and the trophy against the devil. It is the seal to keep the exterminating angel from reaching us, as Scripture says (cf. Ex 9:12). It is the instrument to raise up those who lie down, the support of those who stand, the staff of the weak, the guide of those who go astray, the goal of those who go forward, the health of soul and body, the one who drives away all evils, the one who welcomes all good things, the death of sin, the plant of resurrection, the tree of eternal life ". The Lord has placed the salvation of the human race on the tree of the Cross, so that where death originated, Life might rise from there, and he who conquered on a tree, might be on a tree conquered

The Cross presents itself in our life in many different ways: sickness, poverty, tiredness, pain, contempt, loneliness.... Today we can examine in our prayer our habitual disposition before this Cross, which sometimes appears difficult and hard, but which, if we bear it with love, becomes a source of purification and Life, and also of joy. Do we often complain in the face of setbacks? Do we also thank God for failure, pain and contradiction? Do these realities bring us closer to God, or do they separate us from Him?

Hablar con Dios