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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

THE TRIUMPH AND UNIVERSAL EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

Non-Christians have often asked a very good question–why do Christians adorn their churches, homes, and necks with a symbol of abasement, terror, and torture? 
 The feast of the Exaltation or Triumph of the Holy Cross provides the answer.






my source: 
Early Church Fathers, Dr. Marcellino D'AMbrosio, Catholic Church


St. Andrew of Crete shows that the feast of the victory and exaltation of the holy cross or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was celebrated even in the era of the Early Church Fathers.  This excerpt from one of St. Andrew's discourses (Oratio 10 in Exaltatione sanctae crucis: PG 97, 1018-1019, 1022-23) is used in the Roman Catholic Office of Readings on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  The corresponding biblical reading is taken from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians (Gal 2:19-3:7-14 and 6:14-16).  
 St Andrew of Crete

We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.

Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross,life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, There would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.

Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation - very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.

The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: “Father, glorify your name”. Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again”. Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.
Here is a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father's reflections before the Angelus prayer:

Dear brothers and sisters,

On September 14th the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Some non-Christian person might ask: why "exalt" the Cross? We can say that we do not exalt just any cross or all crosses: we exalt the Cross of Jesus, because God’s love for humanity was revealed most in it. That's what the Gospel of John reminds us in today's liturgy: "God so loved the world that He gave only begotten Son" (3:16). The Father has "given" the Son to save us, and this has resulted in the death of Jesus and His death on the Cross. Why? Why was the Cross necessary? Because of the gravity of the evil which kept us slaves. The Cross of Jesus expresses both things: all the negative forces of evil, and all of the gentle omnipotence God’s mercy. The Cross would appear to declare Christ’s failure, but in reality marks His victory. On Calvary, those who mocked him said, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (cf. Mt 27,40). But it was the opposite that was true: it was because Jesus was the Son of God, that He was there, on the Cross, faithful to the end to the loving plan of the Father. And for this reason God has "exalted" Jesus (Philippians 2.9), conferring universal kingship on Him.

So what do we see, when we look to the Cross where Jesus was nailed? We contemplate the sign of the infinite love of God for each of us and the source of our salvation. That Cross is the source of the mercy of God that embraces the whole world. Through the Cross of Christ the evil one is overcome, death is defeated, we are gifted life, hope is restored. This is important: Through the Cross of Christ hope is restored. The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! That is why the Church "exalts" the Holy Cross, which is why we Christians bless ourselves with the sign of the cross. That is, we don’t exalt crosses any but the glorious Cross of Christ, a sign of God’s love, our salvation and journey towards the resurrection.  This is our hope.  

While we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross, we think emotionally of so many of our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith in Christ. This happens especially there where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or fully realized. It happens, however, even in well-to-do countries which, in principle, protect freedom and human rights, but where in practice believers, and especially Christians, encounter restrictions and discrimination. So today we remember them and pray especially for them.  

On Calvary, at the foot of the Cross, there was the Virgin Mary (cf. Jn 19,25-27). She is the Virgin of Sorrows, whom we celebrate tomorrow in the liturgy. To Her I entrust the present and the future of the Church, so that we all may always know how to discover and accept the message of love and salvation of the Cross of Christ. To Her I entrust in particular the newlywed couples whom I had the joy of joining in marriage this morning, in St. Peter's Basilica.








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