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The Cross compels people, including emperors, to act PDF Print E-mail

14 September 2014: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The Son of Man must be lifted up

Holy Cross in fog

The Cross is one of the most central objects of the Christian faith. It is the symbol of God’s love for us expressed by the self-sacrificing death of Jesus, his Incarnate Son. The public veneration of the Cross originated in the fourth century. According to legend it began with the miraculous discovery of the True Cross by Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, on 14 September 326 while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine.

In the year 627, during the reign of the Emperor Heraclius I of Constantinople, the Persians conquered the city of Jerusalem and removed a major part of the Cross from its sanctuary. The emperor determined to recover the relic which he regarded as the new Ark of the Covenant for the new People of God. Before leaving Constantinople with his army, Heraclius went to the church wearing black in a spirit of penance; prostrated himself before the altar and begged God to sustain his courage. In the ensuing war, the emperor was victorious. One of the conditions of a peace treaty was the return of the Cross, in the same condition as when it was removed. On his return to Constantinople, Heraclius was received by the acclamations of the people. They came out to meet him with olive branches and torches. The Cross was honoured with a grand triumph. The emperor then wished to give thanks to God by going in person to return the Cross to Jerusalem, after an absence of 14 years. In Jerusalem, he wished to carry the Cross on his shoulders but on reaching the gate leading to Calvary, he could not go forward. He was astonished and his retinue could not understand. “Take care, O Emperor!” the Patriarch Zachary then said to him. “In truth, the imperial clothing you are wearing does not sufficiently resemble the poor and humiliated condition of Jesus carrying His cross.” Heraclius then removed his shoes and bejewelled robes. Wearing a poor man’s tunic, he was able to proceed to Calvary and replace the Cross.

Source: Extract from a reflection on The Exaltation of the Holy Cross by the Irish Jesuits | Image from pixabay.com

Basket of breadRichmond Hill Churches Food Centre: Volunteers WANTED!!!

“For I was hungry, you gave me something to eat” Matthew 25:35

We would like to recruit volunteers to collect bread, pastries and cakes from some of our suppliers on either a regular or occasional basis.  Read more...