Reflection: The Grace of the Cross
Today's reflection compliments of Larry Driscoll.
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Today’s feast is a reminder to us all who profess to be Christians why we are able to make that profession. A part of the Gospel by John today is often quoted and with good reason: ‘And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’
Growing up in my parish Holy Cross( now Our Lady of the Holy Cross so renamed after a merger with Our Lady of Mount Carmel) in the Baden area of the north St Louis, I am well familiar with the legacy that is the Cross. We kept it central to all celebrations, liturgical and otherwise, due to the diligence of our long time pastor Martin Hellriegel. Being an active server and choir member, I had a front row seat at every liturgy and soaked it all in. Making the sign of the cross was not only a Catholic ritual but it was a parish point of pride and belief. We celebrated the mystery that is the Cross in every feast day and major celebration throughout the liturgical calendar. But more than just this immersion into the Cross, it carried over into homelife as well. We, like many Catholic households, had holy water fonts throughout our home. We were encouraged to bless ourselves upon entering and leaving, calling down the grace of the Cross on all we were about.
I love that this feast is named the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. This rather brutal instrument of torture and humiliation at the time was turned on its head by the total sacrifice of Jesus who was ‘lifted up’ so we might live. In turn, it becomes the instrument of our salvation not our destruction. It takes on the cloak of the divine and becomes the symbol of total love by a God who chose to reach in and lift us up as well. So, the next time we are able to dip our hands in the holy water fonts at church and sign ourselves, let’s do so and prayerfully and proudly proclaim that love in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
On a personal note, today marks the third anniversary of my dad’s passing. It was so perfect that he died on this feast because of his strong faith and faithful service as a lay member and then deacon for 31 years at his spiritual home of Holy Cross. He is instrumental along with my mom in instilling the foundations of faith and ‘right’ living in each of his nine children and we thank them for it.
on Tuesday, September 14 at 12:00AM