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Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

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Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

Once a year where I come from there is a huge county fair. Pumpkins piled high, baked goods, and horses, cattle, and every kind of farm animal await the visitors. More subdued yet no less attractive are displays of lovely model homes. These always feature the newest “built-in” appliances: dishwasher, freezer/refrigerator, and stove. But no matter how lovely and appealing the kitchens with the built-in luxuries appear, reality sets in at the first meal. The food in the freezer has to be defrosted; the stove can collect spills; the dishwasher has to be loaded and unloaded; the fridge has to be checked almost daily to keep things fresh.. Even a shiny kitchen has its hidden “cross” of unpleasantries.

As a teenager, I imagined my own personal cross might come fifty years later: perhaps some colossal battle with cancer or some other enormous suffering. After all I had been healthy, active—a horseback rider, a busy student. It hadn’t occurred to me that bearing the burden of the cross comes built-in with any walk of life, any age, or circumstance. I smile when I recall a clever skit put on by some of our sisters. The act opened with a room full of Styrofoam crosses. The sisters on stage were invited to pick whichever cross they felt suited them.. Some hugged tiny crosses; others lifted large crosses as though they were trophies. Each sister had a different size. Of course size did not matter, since the weight amounted to next to nothing. We laughed when the skit was over because all the participants tried to choose the crosses that suited them best.

Now way beyond my teens, I wonder no longer when the cross will come. I discovered my built-in cross: the effort it takes me to control reactions or responses to annoyances, to be pleasant when I feel cranky, to squelch a nasty remark just when it seems to be perfect timing. All these are ways of taking up my cross—even if it be only made of Styrofoam!

On September 14th, the Church celebrates the feast of the Triumph or The Exultation of the Cross. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “Ours is not a ‘Christ-less cross nor a cross-less Christ.’ ” Jesus’ cross was his weapon, the means he used to conquer sin, Satan and death.

When Pontius Pilate questioned Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus asserted that he is a king. However he said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world….My kingdom is not here” (see John 18:35).

Pilate exercised his authority in the Roman Empire which no longer exists. Wherever Christians are the Kingdom of Jesus Christ exists. Together with Jesus, Christians embrace their daily cross. Shown at Baptism with the sign of the cross, we begin and end our daily prayers with the sign of Jesus’s triumph: the cross.

 


On September 14th, we lift high the cross and thank Jesus for transforming the pain of the cross into the joy of victory over sin and death.

Our acceptance of and embrace of our daily cross is our participation in the kingdom which is not “of this world.”

Christ was condemned so that we would be released from the hold of sin.

Sin committed at all times and by everyone lost its power to condemn us that day. The King of all creation mounted his throne. He used the cross to foil the enemy’s plan to destroy the whole human race.

Saint Paul said, God “takes the things that are not, to confound the things that are” (see 1 Cor 1:27). The cross was the sign of failure, defeat and contempt. God turned the “curse of the cross” into the symbol of Christ’s victory.

Today because Christ nailed our sins to the cross, we exalt the cross, raise it high and rejoice in it. At Mass we celebrate “The Mystery of Faith” immediately after the priest consecrates the bread and wine into the precious body and blood of Christ. The cross too is a mystery. Suffering sneaks into our life, unwanted and at times overwhelming. No matter the size or shape of our cross, it can serve to unite us with the loving sacrifice of Jesus.  

The classic, The Imitation of Christ, tells us more about the mystery of the cross—this embrace of what is unpleasant, even painful in our everyday life:

So if you do not want to suffer, you are refusing to be crowned. Fight bravely and endure with patience. Without labor one cannot rest. Without fighting one cannot be victorious.

 Lord, may your grace make possible to me what seems, by nature, impossible. You know how little I can suffer and how quickly I am discouraged by a small difficulty. For you name’s sake, help me find all trials lovable and desirable, knowing that to suffer affliction for your love is very good for my soul. (From Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis, Pauline Books & Media: Boston, 2010.)

 

 
by Sr. Mary Peter Martin, FSP

| Categories: Inspiration, Prayer and Holiness, How to Share Your Faith | Tags: Christ's victory, sin overcome | View Count: (10999) | Return

Comments

  • Theresa, thank you! I suggest you to stick the roof, not to sew! I just exlipaned to the girls that it's very difficult to work with the needle when you fix the roof and it doesn't look nice!. I used UHU Universal glue.
    2/20/2015 4:08:25 PM Reply
  • Honest? All those fine things are alaivable somewhere on the Internet for them that likes'em and I do. I read blogs and subscribe to the feeds to read the stories, slices of life, wisdom and personal insight and the like of individual blog authors.Just one opinion but there wasn't a section in the poll to indicate this :) so I offer the comment.I've been enjoying your blog as is.
    6/22/2014 7:08:40 PM Reply
  • Thanks to all who commented. Writing about the great Feast of the Cross of Jesus made me more aware of the mystery of the Cross. It is woven into life, "built in" as I mentioned. Sometimes I miss it or fail to recognize it as the graced gift that it is. As we reflect on the sad events today at the Washington, DC Navy Yard, let us pray for those who have died for their eternal repose. And, let us pray for the many relatives, friends and co-workers left behind who now bear a cross of sorrow and grief.
    9/16/2013 5:45:31 PM Reply
  • Many people of good will donate their money and time to give back to society and that is laudable. Some of these people do it out of the goodness of their hearts, some for personal recognition. However, few of us think of giving back to Christ directly. Many of us want to be spared the cross. But in his goodness, God sends heavy crosses to everyone, so we can have the opportunity to repay Christ, even if our sacrifices will never approach His supreme sacrifice. He gives us these trials so we can earn eternal life. Praise the Lord! Bob
    9/15/2013 12:47:37 PM Reply
  • My father passed from this life 45 years ago on this great Feast. Today, the priest once again offered Holy Mass for the redemption of his immortal soul. As a young boy, my dad's suffering and death taught me the pattern of following Christ's Holy Cross, and how I can only bear it with His help. It's when I try to go it alone that I get in trouble. May we all imitate the prodigal son and humble ourselves to seek the Lord's mercy when we try to bear our crosses alone.
    9/15/2013 6:15:46 AM Reply
  • Yes we all have a " Cross" , but do we see the crosses that others carry. Jesus carried the "Cross" for you and me. It is when we become " christ like "- Christus, we are able to assist others in carrying their cross. Now we see the Victory , we put to death our selfish ways and gain new not just for us , but for others. Amen
    9/14/2013 7:17:25 AM Reply
  • Oh, it's so true. I always thought my cross would be much more glamorous, like the ones the Sisters in the skit were able to choose from! Jesus gives us the courage, the sensitivity and the wisdom to embrace what God actually does send us. Only with Him can we embrace it, and only through Him can we learn what He wants us to so that we become more like Him: life-giving disciples, like our Master, for others.
    9/14/2013 7:14:38 AM Reply
  • Like the author I used to wonder when my cross would come. Life was good, kids, husband and I were healthy and happy. But the cross is there every day, even in the absence of dramatic events. One thing I learned is that we get many opportunities each day to ask and accept God's grace. Whether it is an annoying relative, or the daily nuisance of work, or retrieving the garbage cans, our lives are filled with grace opportunities.
    9/14/2013 6:27:37 AM Reply

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