Monday, September 14, 2009

FEAST OF EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROS - click to read




O God, Who on this day givest us joy by the annual solemnnity of the exaltation of the holy cross, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve the reward of His redemption in heaven Whose mystery we have known upon earth. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, etc. Amen.

EPISTLE
Brethren. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

GOSPEL (John 12:31-36)
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.) The multitude answered him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth.Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things Jesus spoke; and he went away, and hid himself from them.

INSTRUCTION ON THE WAY OF THE CROSS

What is the Holy Way of the Cross?
It is a devotional exercise by which we meditate upon the passion and death of Jesus, and particularly upon His last way of sorrows, from the house of Pilate to Mount Calvary.
Tradition testifies that after Christ's ascension the Christians living in Jerusalem were accustomed particularly to venerate the holy places which had been sanctified by the passion of the divine Redeemer. But after Jerusalem fell into hands of the infidels, so that it became dangerous, and often impossible, to pass over the ground which Our Lord had trod, the children of St. Francis of Assisi began to erect in their churches the fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross, by meditating on which the faithfull might, in spirit, accompany the pilgrims to Jerusalem on the way to Calvary, dwelling in thought on what Christ had suffered for men. Stations here means a place to pause, a resting-point for meditation. This devoution has been examined and approved by many Popes, enriched with indulgences, and earnestly recommended to Christians. It may be found in any prayer-book. No exercise is more profitable to our souls than this. What can bring before us the love of God and the abominabless and frightfulness of sin in a more vivid manner than the sufferings of the God-man? How can we any longer indulge in hate when we hear Jesus pray for His enemies? How can we give ourselves up to sensuality and lust when we see the divine Saviour scourged, crowned with thorns, and hanging on the cross? How can we murmur at our trials when we think that Jesus innocent takes up the cross for us guilty? In truth, we should see our coldness and indifference disappear, as ice melts in the heat, we should grow more and more zealous in the way of virtue, if we would but rightly meditate upon the passion of Christ.

How are visit to the stations of the Cross to be made?
Rightly to visit the Stations of the Cross, and to draw therefrom real benefit, we should at each station consider with attention, with devotion and sorrow, what Jesus has done and suffered for us. We should not content ourselves with merely reciting at each station the proper prayers and meditations, but should pause, to impress upon our hearts what is there represented, that we may be moved and quickened to wholesome resolutions. In order to gain indulgences we must endeavour to be in the state of grace, and therefore at least, by the way of beginning, we must have perfect contrition for our sins.