A Message from Father Nathan
My dearest people who are all close to my heart!
Lots of love, blessings, and prayers to you all.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Celebrated on September 14th
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
— 1 Corinthians 1:18
The cross today is the universal image of Christian belief. Countless generations of artists have turned it into a thing of beauty to be carried in procession or worn as jewelry.
History of the Cross
To the eyes of the first Christians, it had no beauty. It stood outside so many city walls, decorated with decaying corpses, as a threat to anyone who defied Rome’s authority-including Christians who refused sacrifice to Roman gods.
Although believers spoke of the cross as the instrument of salvation, it seldom appeared in Christian art unless disguised as an anchor or the Chi-Rho until after Constantine’s edict of toleration.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated every year on September 14th. This day recalls three historical events:
- the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena – the mother of the emperor Constantine.
- the dedication of the churches built by Constantine on the site of the Holy sepulcher and Mount Calvary
- and the restoration of the True Cross of Jerusalem by the emperor Heraclius II.
The Cross as the Instrument of our Salvation
But, in a deep sense, the feast also celebrated the Holy Cross as the instrument of our salvation. This instrument of torture, designed to degrade the worst of criminals, became the life-giving tree that reversed Adam’s Original Sin when he ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. It’s easy to understand that the Cross is special because Christ used it as the instrument of our salvation.
But after His Resurrection, why would Christians continue to look to the Cross?
Christ Himself offered us the answer:
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).
The point of taking up our own cross is not simply self-sacrificing; in doing so, we unite ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ on His Cross. When we participate in the Mass, the Cross is there, too. The “unbloody sacrifice” offered at the altar is the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. When we receive the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, we do not simply unite ourselves to Christ; we nail ourselves to the Cross, dying with Christ so that we might rise with Him.
“For the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness……”(1 Corinthians 1:22-23)
Today more than ever, non-Christians see the Cross as foolishness. What kind of Savior triumphs through death? For Christians, however, the Cross is the crossroads of history and the Tree of Life. Christianity without the Cross is meaningless: Only by uniting ourselves to Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross can we enter into eternal life.
God bless you all.
With lots of love and blessing.
Ever wanting to be faithful to your service.
—Fr. Sahayanathan Nathan
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