In the fourth century in the Isles of Britain, Constantine the Great was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
When Constantine then marched on Rome with his army, he had a vision of a cross of stars in the mid-day sky, which he believed assured his victory over Maximus. This vision was confirmed in a dream in which he saw the Cross of the Lord, and the words, “By this sign, conquer.” Constantine did indeed defeat the more powerful army of Maximus and took possession of the Roman throne.
St. Helen, Constantine’s mother, journeyed to the Holy Land and the Cross of the Lord was uncovered, along with the two crosses of the criminals who were crucified with Him.
The true Cross was identified when each cross was in turn placed over the body of a man being taken for burial. When he was covered with the Lord’s Cross, he was miraculously resurrected. The people then venerated the Cross of Christ. The great crowds made it impossible for all to kiss the Cross itself, so it was raised high by Macarius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, so that the people might see and venerate it. This was the origin of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross. The feast was regularly celebrated in the Eastern Churches as early as the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, in which is found Christ’s tomb, around the year 335, and was adopted by the Roman Church in the 7th century.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, or Triumph of the Cross, is celebrated on September 14. The Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified is the doorway to His conquering of sin and death by His Resurrection. Through the Cross and resurrection all have have been redeemed and have the hope of salvation, eternal life in heaven with our loving God.
We venerate and exalt and love the Cross of Christ, for by the suffering and death of God’s only Son on the Cross, we have new life.
“We adore You O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.” — St. Alphonsus de Liguori
From Johnnette Benkovic’s Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day
Faithful Cross, above all other, one and only noble tree. . . . Sweet the wood, and sweet the iron, and thy load, most sweet is He.— Venantius Fortunatus, Crux Fidelis
In what one area of my life have I most recently seen the lib¬erating power of Christ’s Cross? Today, I will offer a sacrifice of praise for His gracious mercy.
Other Saints We Remember Today
- St. Maternus (1st Century), Bishop
- St. Notburga (1313), Virgin, Patroness of peasants, servants, and the poor