Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi; quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee; because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
On this feast, we celebrate the exaltation of the instrument of our salvation. It was exalted on Easter Sunday just as Christ was exalted as the One who reconciled us to God and opened the gates of heaven for us. But to finish and participate in the work of our salvation, we must accept the cross just as we must accept Christ.
In one of his homilies on EWTN, Fr. Charles Connor made the point that our lives really don’t have meaning without the Cross. And this makes perfect sense because we know that we exist on earth to “know, love, and serve God in this life and be happy with Him in the next.” But how exactly do we know, love, and serve God in this life? By accepting His Cross and our own crosses. Jesus’s life was defined by the Cross and suffering for His people. By suffering and dying on the Cross, He showed us how to live our lives and make it to heaven. If we want to do this, we must accept the Cross and suffer patiently and obediently out of love for God and others, just as Jesus did. We cannot know Christ and what it is to truly love without the Cross. And we cannot live the way of the Cross without His graces. This is why we must continually ask Him for help and the graces to accept our sufferings perfectly as He did.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a “mini-Easter” because it celebrates the triumph of the way that Jesus suffered to open Paradise to us after Adam and Eve shut us out. It also reminds us that to get to heaven, we must exalt our own crosses and suffer them well. I hope you enjoy this special day and especially during this challenging year learn what it means to exalt our own crosses so that we may be exalted in triumph in the next life with Christ.