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Exaltation of the Holy Cross

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September 2012
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Today September 14 we celebrate the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – also known as the Triumph of the Holy Cross. We remember the Holy Cross which brought redemption and salvation to the world. Jesus Christ came from heaven born of a Virgin, lived among us and died on a Cross for all of us.

The Cross was the death penalty during Jesus’ time. It was a punishment made for the worst criminal. God desired to use this instrument to save the world and bring redemption to mankind. Humanity got into trouble by eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Cross became the new Tree of Life that would undo this.

St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine sought to find the True Cross in Jerusalem. The Cross was buried by Roman officials and was discovered after a Jewish man named Judas guided St. Helena to its location. One tradition states that after the escavation, three crosses were found. One of them had an inscription Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum or “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Tests were conducted to verify this to be the True Cross. It was taken to people who were sick and they were healed. A dead man was even restored to life after being laid upon the Cross.

Churches were constructed over the sites of the Holy Sepulchre and on Mount Calvary to mark forever the locations of the event of the Crucifixion.  They were dedicated on September 14 in the year 335.

The Cross is an important symbol for Christians.  It is the symbol of salvation.  God became man and suffered a horrible death in order to save His human people.  The Tau symbol (T) was used in the Old Testament as a sign of repentance.  Even Philosopher Plato alluded to the Just Man being Crucified:

To the best of my ability,” he replied, “… it becomes an easy matter, I fancy, to unfold the tale of the sort of life that awaits each. We must tell it, then; and even if my language is somewhat rude and brutal, you must not suppose, Socrates, that it is I who speak thus, but those who commend injustice above justice. What they will say is this: that such being his disposition the just man will have to endure the lash, the rack, chains, the branding-iron in his eyes, and finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will be crucified, and so will learn his lesson that not to be but to seem just is what we ought to desire. Republic II. 361D-362A

Was God preparing the Pagan world for the “Just Man” Jesus Christ through the wisdom of Plato?
Let us take this day to reflect on the Cross of Christ.  We all should accept and carry the Crosses our Lord gives us in life.  As a reminder, we should also carry a crucifix on our self.

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

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