Crosses have become a common part of our everyday life.
We decorate our houses with them. We wear crosses and crucifixes as jewelry. They are on books and clothes and car windows. We see them all around our neighborhoods and cities.
Has the cross become so ingrained in our life that we don’t often think about what it really stands for?
If you’re like me, the answer is a definite maybe.
Don’t get me wrong, I associate the cross with Our Lord and His sacrifice of life given for the redemption of our souls.
But saying that … and fully understanding the human realities of what Jesus experienced may be two different matters.
Ancient worlds, including the Roman empire, used the terror and fear of crucifixion to control their people. Crucifixions were held in public for all to see. It was an excruciating and humiliating way to die.
The cross therefore was a symbol of suffering and humiliation. It was avoided at all costs … and certainly was not celebrated.
Crucifixions were finally outlawed in the fourth century. And over time, the cross became a symbol of Jesus Christ’s triumph over death.
Every year on September 14th the Catholic Church celebrates the finding of the True Cross and the dedication of the Basilica that was built on the spot where it was found. It’s called the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The celebration began back in 335 … and continues today. We’ll celebrate it in about a week and a half.
It’s an opportunity for us to lift high the cross, reflect on it’s true meaning, and celebrate Our Lord’s triumph over death. And remember that we are called to take up our own crosses.
This week’s issue of Genuflect celebrates the Holy Cross. We look at the history of crucifixion, St. Helena’s efforts to locate the True Cross, what you need to know about the Feast, how and why we exalt the Holy Cross, and finally, we look at the sign of the cross.
So join me in exalting the Holy Cross on Sept. 14th … and every time we see a cross.
Founding Editor, Genuflect
P. S. For the latest Catholic news, be sure to check out Genuflect Daily. We hand pick the top Catholic news you care about. Subscribe to the site and submit stories you find on the internet … and upvote all your favorites.
History of Crucifixions
Crucifixions were in wide use before Jesus was brutally executed at the hands of the Romans, and they continued for hundreds of years after. Let’s begin with this brief history of crucifixions, where they started, the different types, and when they eventually ended.
A Brief History of Crucifixion in The Ancient World | Learn Religions
Discovery of The True Cross
Did you know that the cross that Jesus was crucified on was found about 300 years after his death? Read the amazing story how Saint Helena was able to locate it and the miracle that helped identify it as the “True Cross.”
St. Helena And The Legend of The True Cross | St. Mary’s University
All About The Feast
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was first celebrated in 335 and by 720 was universally celebrated in the church. 1,600+ years later we’re still celebrating it. Here’s what you need to know about the three historical events it commemorates and its deeper meaning.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross | Learn Religions
Celebrating The Holy Cross
Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, Roodmas … these are all names for the same feast we celebrate on Sept. 14th. Here you’ll find more about the meaning of the feast day … and several ways to celebrate it.
Exaltation of the Holy Cross | Catholic Culture
Reasons to Exalt The Cross
It may seem odd that we celebrate the instrument of suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. So what exactly are we celebrating on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross? And what is its meaning for us? Ramon Aldana explains.
Finding Reasons to Celebrate The Triumph of The Cross | Catholic Stand
How we Celebrate The Cross Today
Gillian Weyant takes a look at the origins of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, but she takes it a little further. In this don’t-miss article she looks at the cross in Scripture as well as in art and architecture.
How We Celebrate the Glory of the Cross Today | The Mystical Humanity of Christ
Holy Cross Quotes
If you’d like to spend some special time on Sept. 14th exalting the Holy Cross through meditation and prayer, these 10 quotes may come in handy.
Lift High The Cross
Sam Guzman believes that all too often we are ashamed of the Holy Cross. It’s removed from public display. Our focus is more on joy and happiness … and not trials and tribulations. But Mr. Guzman makes the case that our salvation depends on taking up our crosses.
Lift High the Cross | The Catholic Gentleman
The Sign of The Cross
The sign of the cross is uniquely Christian. The gesture itself is a prayer so speaking along with it is in a sense saying 2 prayers. Here’s a brief history of the sign of the cross and why we make it.
Sign of The Cross | Catholic.com
The Holy Cross Novena
Begin praying the Holy Cross Novena on September 5th to be done in time for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th. Or you can pray it anytime. You’ll find the Holy Cross Novena here.
Click below to download this week’s free inspirational wallpaper for your desktop and your phone. Or download one of the previous wallpapers
Please use these buttons to share this issue of Genuflect with your friends, family, and followers who may be interested. Thank you!