Exaltation of the Cross

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…          -Galatians 6:14

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.              -St. Leo the Pope (d. 461)

Monument of St. Sava is seen in front of the temple during Good Friday in Belgrade

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross — September 14

I feel too tired to write a blog post today, but I couldn’t let this feast go by without mention. It isn’t always possible for me to get to Vespers or Vigil on Saturday evenings, but last night I did. I love the hymns that we sing at the feast of the cross. In the Orthodox Church, when we sing something like:

“Before Thy Cross we bow down O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify,” we actually prostrate ourselves on the floor for each of three refrains. (Many hymns have this triplet aspect to them, as a reminder of the Holy Trinity.)

If you are struggling with a bad attitude, it’s amazing how effective this kind of behavior can be in setting you on a better track, and helping you to pray. This morning at Divine Liturgy we had more of the same majestic hymns, and “O God, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance… preserve Thy habitation!”

The Church is the habitation of Christ. His presence fills His temple, and today our new chandeliers were set to swinging for the joy of Him being among us.

P1110337cross crp

In our church bulletin we have for this week a pertinent quote from Fr. Basil Zebrun of Fort Worth, Texas:

“…when we are told in today’s Gospel, ‘Turn away from yourself, take up your Cross, Follow Me (Mark 8:34) — we are not called to something dark and frightening; we are told by God: ‘Open yourself to love! Do not remain a prisoner of your own self-centeredness.’ Do not be, in the words of St. Theophan the Recluse, ‘like  a shaving of wood which is rolled around its own emptiness.’ Open yourself up! Look — there is so much to love, there are so many to love! There is such an infinity of ways in which love can be experienced, and fulfilled and accomplished.

“Open yourself and love (others) — because this is the way of the Cross! Not the way which the two criminals trod together with Christ to be punished for their crimes; but the wonderful way in which giving oneself unreservedly, turning away from self, existing only for the other, loving with all one’s being so that one exists only for the sake of the other — this is the Cross and the glory of the Cross.”

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