The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The feast of Exaltation of the Holy cross is celebrated yearly on the fourteenth day of September. This feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine in the year 326. Yet, in a deeper sense, the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates Jesus’ cross as an instrument of our salvation. The cross which was previously seen as an instrument of torture and death, became the life-giving tree for humanity; it became the symbol of hope and of victory. Jesus’ cross symbolizes God’s unconditional love for humanity. This love is so great that Christ became the sacrificial lamb for humanity. His death symbolizes the redemption of sin, mankind’s victory over death, and the chance for life everlasting. The significance of the cross is described in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus states: “If any of you want to come with me, you must deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). In this Bible passage, the cross is directly connected to self-denial, which can also be referred to as self-sacrifice. The way to Christ is through the denial of all earthy possessions and riches; it is through the denial of all that goes against the claims of Christ. By denying ourselves, we are truly able to unite with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Therefore, the cross has become a symbol of veneration for Catholics around the world. We believe that in the same way the cross symbolizes the victory over sin and death, the cross also protects us from the snares of the devil and attracts God’s help to us.