Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Sunday, 17 September 2023
O Holy Cross!
The Church has celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross on September 14, marking the end of the Forty Days’ Journey. This journey begins with the Feast of Transfiguration and culminates in this celebration, affirming God’s love for mankind. It signifies the extent of His love, to the point of incarnation and crucifixion, serving as an atonement for our sins.

Middle East Council of Churches Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs :

O Life-Giving Cross,


You were carried by the Incarnate Lord on His shoulders. He walked with you determinedly on the path to Calvary, taking upon Himself the task of saving humanity from its sins. Crowned with thorns, He was clothed in a garment of ridicule and humiliation,


Upon you, the Redeemer was nailed and lifted high. He was mocked, stabbed, and anointed with myrrh,


You bear witness to the Redeemer’s immense love for humanity and His tolerance,


Through you, the Redeemer uttered His words, glorified by generations to this day, from the first, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34), to the seventh, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). We shall continue to glorify Him until the end of time,


Upon you, the Son of Man was lifted high so that all may know that He is the one against whom false testimonies were made. He is the one who was sold for thirty pieces of silver and for whose garment they cast lots,


Upon you, everything was fulfilled, hours passed, and prophecies came true,


The Master taught lessons to generations yet unborn. Following Him, Christian martyrs walked joyfully in Christ’s footsteps. They entered prisons and fed lions while looking heavenward, praying for mercy for their enemies,


You bore the body of the Master, demonstrating that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s beloved,


From You Joseph of Arimathea came forward to take down the body of Jesus, anoint it, wrap it in a shroud, and place it where the resurrection would be fulfilled,


O Cross Symbol,


You have become an inherent personal characteristic of Jesus Christ. As the angel defined it to Mary Magdalene, “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified” (Matthew 28:5), and as the Apostle Paul preached, “We preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23),


Thus, the cross has derived its sacred religious symbolism for Christians, as well as its human symbolism. It was the means of the Master’s death for the salvation of mankind and his liberation from the burden of sin, thus becoming a means of salvation and emancipation for humanity,


The cross is a symbol of Christ’s suffering, selflessness, and physical torment before His death and resurrection. It is thus a symbol of redemption and salvation. It is also the symbol of Christ who triumphs over annihilation, becoming the key to life and the symbol of eternal life,


Cross our Companion, inherent to our daily lives, You have become part of human suffering in their daily lives,


You are the reality of each one of our lives, the keeper of the Lord’s commandments carries his cross at a time when hypocrisy and blasphemy against the soul have become the basis of relations between men,


Man, whom the Lord created as a free being, bears the cross of freedom,


The speaker of truth who refuses to be a false witness or a mute devil in front of injustice and social fall, carries the cross of justice,


He who accumulates in his life problems, calamities, distress, and pain carries the cross of suffering,


We, in our daily lives, take up our cross and follow it, with full will, free and conscious,


The Holy Cross accompanies our daily lives as we mark it at all times, in joy and sorrow when we feel in danger and when we thank the Lord for His gifts. It is thus part of our personal, social, and cultural identity,


O Cross, conqueror of the abyss,


You have freed us from our misery, made us triumph over ourselves, and opened the doors of the kingdom for us,


Through you, salvation has appeared to mankind. Sin has been defeated, and man has walked on the path of forgiveness,


Through His death and resurrection, His broken body and His spilled blood for the New Testament, the incarnate Lord gave new life to all who embraced His faith and followed the guidance of His teachings,


We who have chosen to live by the faith and values of the Incarnate Master who is invincible to nothingness are able to conquer the devil who dwells in men’s minds and permeates them. For that reason, we endure persecution and demonization with firm certainty that “all those who wish to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)


Blessed are you Helena, blessed is your coming to the Holy Land seeking for the stick of the cross,


Blessed are those who guided you to the right place. Blessed are your strenuous efforts, Blessed is your patience during your long search,


It did not help those who tried to bury the cross under rubble just as it did not help those who tried to bury those martyrs who were first called Christians in Antioch,


The flames that were lit that day marking the finding of the cross are still glowing and illuminating the world. They say that this flame will remain on top of mountains warning humanity that evil is still doing its work on human beings and that Our faith is a war against evil through love,


The cross, then an instrument of torture and murder for criminals and bandits. It was “cursed is he who hangs on a tree” (Deuteronomy 21:23), a symbol of curse, became, through teachings of the Incarnate Master, resistant to annihilation a symbol of love and forgiveness,


This challenge that Christianity poses to humanity is summed up by some words from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “But I say unto you: Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who offend you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)


Does humanity, ravaged by evil today, have ears to hear?