The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer: 13 Ways It Will Revolutionize Your Faith
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer is a powerful prayer that honors the cross on which our Savior Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself for our salvation. As we recite the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer, we are reminded of the depth of Christ’s love and the hope His passion offers us.
Throughout the centuries, the Catholic Church has celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer on September 14th as a way to reflect on the meaning of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer and venerate this sacred symbol of our faith. This feast day invites us to lift our minds and hearts to the mystery of our redemption through the sacrifice of God’s only Son on the holy wood of the cross. In the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, we raise our voices to glorify the cross on which the Lamb of God died to take away the sins of the world.
The exaltation of the holy cross prayer crystallizes the significance of this powerful feast day. As we pray, we call to mind the triumph of the Holy Cross, Christ’s victory over sin and death, and the boundless love that led him to lay down His life for us. This ancient prayer reconnects us to the origins of this venerable feast and the devotion Christians have had for the cross for century upon century. Praying it allows us to tap into the rich spiritual meaning of the cross in a simple yet profound way.
What is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer?
The exaltation of the holy cross prayer is a feast day celebrated by Catholics and other Christians on September 14th each year. This feast commemorates two historical events – the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena in 320 AD and the recovery of the True Cross by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in 629 AD.
The word “exaltation” reminds us that Jesus’ death on the cross achieved our salvation. Through His suffering and death on the cross, Christ conquered sin and death and achieved our redemption. That is why we “exalt” and glorify the holy cross on which our Savior died. The cross is a sign of Christ’s victory and a reminder of His infinite love for us.
As we pray the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, we lift our minds and hearts to our crucified Lord. We honor the wood on which hung the salvation of the world. We adore His sacred wounds through which we are healed. The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross gives us an opportunity to thank God for the gift of redemption and to marvel at the power and glory of the cross.
When is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross?
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated yearly on September 14th. This is because September 14th is the date that the Church commemorates the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena in 320 AD within the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
September 14th is exactly four months from the celebration of the Paschal mystery – the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter. The four months symbolize the four directions of the cross – north, south, east, and west.
The September 14th date of The Exaltation of the Cross feast day also reflects the historical significance of the recovery of the True Cross from the Persians by Emperor Heraclius in 629 AD. After defeating the Persians and getting the Cross back, Heraclius brought it to Constantinople on September 14th that year.
So in celebrating the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th, we mark both the original finding of the True Cross and its return to Jerusalem fourteen centuries ago. As we pray the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, we recall these pivotal events in salvation history.
The History and Origins of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer
The origins of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer date back to the early 4th century when Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and discovered the True Cross upon which Jesus had been crucified.
According to legend, Helena ordered the destruction of a temple to Venus that had been built over the site venerated as the tomb and Calvary of Jesus. Excavating the site, three wooden crosses were uncovered. But which one was the True Cross?
Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem ordered that each cross be brought to touch a woman who was near death. When the True Cross was placed upon her, she immediately recovered. After identifying the True Cross, Constantine ordered that two churches be built on the site – the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Holy Cross.
Some early evidence for the emergence of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross can be found in the written homilies of church fathers such as Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Augustine. Saint John Chrysostom spoke of celebrating the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in one of his homilies in the year 403 AD.
By the 7th century, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross had spread to other parts of Christendom and has remained an important and cherished feast day ever since. As we pray the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, we connect with this long tradition.
The Significance of Celebrating the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
There are many reasons why the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is such an important feast day for Christians. Here are some of the main spiritual significances of celebrating this solemnity:
– It honors Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation – we exalt the holy cross on which Jesus died to redeem humanity. It reminds us of the magnitude of His love.
– It celebrates the True Cross as a symbol of triumph – the cross was an instrument of death and humiliation that is now glorified because of Christ’s victory over sin and death.
– It commemorates the finding and recovery of the True Cross – these were momentous events in Christian history following Christ’s death.
– It reminds us of the Cross’s continuing redemptive power – crosses and crucifixes today still connect us to God’s grace and healing.
– It signifies the Cross as a sign of hope – in suffering and difficult times, we can look to the cross as a symbol of salvation, promise and renewal.
– It marks the Holy Cross as a sign of unity – all Christians, whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, can come together to venerate the cross.
As we pray the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, we tap into these deep layers of meaning. We raise our minds to comprehend the victory Christ won through the wood of the cross. Celebrating this feast fills us with gratitude, hope and inspiration.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
There are many different prayers that are traditionally offered on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Here are some of the most common and meaningful prayers:
-Prayer Before the Crucifix
We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your Holy Cross, You have redeemed the world. Amen.
-Prayer to the Holy Cross
O God, we glory in the Sacred Cross of Your Son as we recall His bitter Passion and Death. May we who now extol the mighty power of this triumphant sign of salvation continue to enjoy its protection. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Hymn to the Cross
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; Sing the winning of the fray; Now above the cross, the trophy, Sound the triumph loud and long: Sing, my tongue, the glorious struggle; Sing the victory of the Cross.
Intercessions for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
That Christians everywhere may find hope and courage through the triumph of the Cross…..Lord, hear our prayer.
That those who suffer may draw strength from the passion and death of Christ…..Lord, hear our prayer.
For all those in need of healing in body, mind or spirit…..Lord, hear our prayer.
As we offer these prayers on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, may our hearts be filled with devotion for Christ crucified and with hope in the power of His sacrifice to save us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns, now and forever. Amen.
Gospel Reading for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer
The key Gospel passage for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer comes from John 3:13-17. In this Scripture, Jesus speaks about the meaning and necessity of His crucifixion:
“No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
There are several important messages we can take from this passage as it relates to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:
– Jesus connects his crucifixion to salvation – being “lifted up” on the cross saves us and gives eternal life.
– The cross is a sign of God’s infinite love for humanity – He “so loved the world” that He sacrificed His only Son.
– The cross conquers death and provides redemption – those who believe in Christ “should not perish but have eternal life.”
– Christ’s sacrifice is meant to save, not condemn – the cross is God reaching out in mercy.
As we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, this Gospel reminds us of the greatness of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice. His willing acceptance of the cross for us opens the doors to salvation. We lift high the cross in praise and gratitude for this gift beyond measure!
Ways to Celebrate and Honor the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer
There are many excellent ways that individuals, families, parishes, and communities can celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Here are some inspirational ideas:
– Attend a special Mass for the feast day where the priest blesses and distributes crucifixes for parishioners to take home
– Pray the Stations of the Cross or schedule a parish Lenten mission or “cross-talk” on the spiritual meaning of the Cross of Christ
– Hold a Eucharistic adoration event focused on the crucified and resurrected Christ
– Do a cross-themed Bible study reflecting on key Scripture passages
– Place a large cross outside or in front of the church with beautiful decorations
– Have the priest offer a blessing over religious articles, especially crosses that people bring
– Do charitable works in honor of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection
– Hold a prayer service Outdoors with the Stations of the Cross culminating in the exaltation of a large cross
– Have children create artwork of the crucifixion scene to be displayed
– Sing hymns and songs that relate to the Cross and Christ’s sacrifice
There are so many profound yet creative ways we can honor this solemn feast day. As we exalt the holy Cross through prayer, reflection and celebration, may our reverence for its message only increase.
Crafts and Activities for Teaching Kids About the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer
Helping children learn about and celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in meaningful ways is an important part of religious education. Here are some crafts and activities to make this feast day fun and memorable for kids:
– Make miniature crosses out of craft sticks that kids can decorate with markers, stickers, glitter, etc. Attach a magnet so they can put them on the fridge at home.
– Have kids make paper plate crosses by cutting out the middle of a paper plate to form the shape of a cross. Decorate them with Christian symbols.
– Do a “Legend of the Cross” puppet play or skit that acts out St. Helena finding the cross in Jerusalem.
– Make cross-shaped snacks or cookies decorated with icing crosses that the class can eat.
– Plant small wooden crosses in the parish garden or in pots as a living memorial.
– Create “vine crosses” by arranging twigs or twisted vines into a cross shape and wiring them together.
– Make cross paintings by dripping and splattering red and black paint on white paper folded in a cross shape. Open to reveal the cross.
– Have kids craft crosses out of clay or play-dough impressed with beads, shells or textures.
– Construct large outdoor crosses using fallen branches that the class decorates with flowers, wreaths, etc.
Finding engaging ways for young children to connect with the meaning of the Holy Cross will help plant the seeds of faith and make this feast day unforgettable.
Fasting and Abstinence on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
For many centuries, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th was one of the most important and solemnly celebrated feast days in the Catholic liturgical calendar. As such, it carried with it certain fasting and abstinence obligations for the faithful.
While specific practices have changed over time, fasting and abstinence on this feast day was long seen as a way to honor the suffering of Jesus Christ on the Cross. By denying ourselves food and drink for a time, we temporarily experience a small amount of the sacrifice that Christ undertook for our salvation.
Here are some historical fasting and abstinence traditions for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:
– In the early Church, a strict fast was observed on the Eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in certain areas. This represented Jesus’ final night on earth.
– In the medieval period, abstinence from meat was widely mandated on the Feast day itself as a form of penance. Dairy, eggs, and fish were permitted.
– A period of fasting leading up to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross lasted one to two weeks in parts of Europe in the Middle Ages.
– The faithful were encouraged to give alms to the poor and pray for the Holy Souls in connection with this fast.
While current regulations have been relaxed, individuals can still practice fasting and abstinence devotions to honor the Cross. This links us to centuries of faithful tradition.
The Symbolism of the Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The cross is ripe with theological and spiritual symbolism that comes to the forefront on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Here are some of the primary symbolic meanings it represents:
Salvation – The cross is the means by which Christ saved and redeemed humanity, allowing us to access eternal life. His death opened heaven’s gates.
Victory – What was once an instrument of death and humiliation became Christ’s throne of victory and glory when He conquered sin and death.
Love – Christ said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The cross is the ultimate symbol of God’s infinite love and mercy.
Reconciliation – The cross bridges the divide between God and man, reconciling humanity to the Father through Christ’s sacrifice.
Healing – On the cross, Christ took upon Himself our illnesses and infirmities, offering divine healing. The cross brings spiritual health.
Protection – Making the sign of the cross invokes Christ’s almighty protection from spiritual forces of evil and harm.
Hope – Even in suffering, the cross remains a sign that redemption is always at hand if we unite our trials with Christ’s passion.
These layers of symbolism make the cross a powerful, multi-faceted sign of our faith. On the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we lift high this banner of Christ’s victory and God’s love.
In conclusion, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is one of the most important celebrations on the Catholic liturgical calendar. It invites us to adore the Holy Cross, call to mind Christ’s passion and death, and marvel at God’s perfect love manifested through the sacrifice of His Son.
As we pray the exaltation of the holy cross prayer, attend special Masses, and participate in customs like fasting and abstinence, we join with faithful through the centuries who found hope and salvation in the wood of the cross. May this feast day renew our reverence for the cross and our gratitude for Christ’s redemptive work. We exalt you, O Cross, as the throne of glory and sign of Christ’s triumph over sin and death!
How can I make a Catholic Pilgrimage to honor the exaltation of the holy cross?
Going on pilgrimage is a profound way to commemorate the solemn Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Journeying to sites connected to the True Cross deepens our understanding of this devotion. Here are some tips for arranging a prayerful Catholic pilgrimage:
– Visit Jerusalem to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Venerate the spot where the True Cross was uncovered.
– Travel to Rome and tour the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which was consecrated by Pope Sylvester I in 324 A.D. to house Passion relics like the Titulus Crucis.
– Make a pilgrimage to Mount Gargas in France, where a relic of the True Cross is kept in the 11th-century Saint-Pierre Abbey. The mountain air and sweeping views invite reverence.
– If traveling abroad is not possible, consider a pilgrimage to a local church or shrine near you that contains a relic of the True Cross for veneration. Many offer special services on the feast day.
Wherever your pilgrimage takes you, prepare through prayer and study. Enter fully into each moment to grow closer to Christ. Let your journey honor His sacrifice and the triumph of the Cross.
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Making travel arrangements to honor the exaltation of the holy cross
Once you’ve selected a pilgrimage destination to honor the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, it’s time to make the practical travel arrangements. Here are some tips:
– Work with a Catholic tour provider to arrange airfare, lodging, ground transportation and tour guides. This simplifies logistics.
– For more flexibility, book flights and hotels yourself online. Research location reviews and secure reservations early.
– Get travel insurance in case of unexpected delays or cancellations. Also consider trip interruption/cancellation policies due to illness.
– Obtain any necessary visas/passports with ample lead time. Check current entry requirements for your destination country.
– Make a schedule of liturgies and activities for each day. Allow time for rest, reflection and exploration.
– Arrange for transportation to key sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre or Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
– Bring appropriate clothing and gear for activities like walking the Stations of the Cross or climbing Mount Gargas.
With spiritual intentions guiding you and prudent travel arrangements in place, your pilgrimage will lead you closer to Christ.
How can praying the exaltation of the holy cross prayer help to make me a saint?
Sainthood is achieved through profound love and sacrifice for God. Praying the Exaltation of the Holy Cross prayer daily can help deepen your devotion and grow in holiness. Here’s how:
– It focuses your mind on Christ’s passion. Meditating on His suffering increases your gratitude and compassion.
– As you visualize the cross, you recommit to denying yourself and embracing God’s will.
– It strengthens your faith in God’s infinite mercy as demonstrated through the crucifixion.
– You gain courage to carry your own cross by uniting your trials with Jesus’.
– Reciting it regularly helps imprint the reality of Christ’s sacrifice within you.
– The words renew your resolve to live a virtuous life that brings you closer to God.
– It fills you with the desire to glorify the cross through thought, word and deed.
Let this prayer saturate your mind and inspire you to the heights of sanctity by keeping your eyes fixed on the cross.
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These encouraging anecdotes may even encourage them to accompany you to church. Even better, perhaps you can introduce them to the Gospel. Do you know how to share the Gospel? Here it is, according to Romans 3:23, that everyone has sinned and falls short of the glory of God. As a result, everyone is in need of a Savior.
God established a way for us to be forgiven by sending His only son to fulfill the requirements of the law. Rom. 4:15-16
To offer the ultimate atonement for our sins, Jesus had to come to Earth, live a sinless life, and die. According to the Bible…
“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
– Hebrews 9:22
The story did not finish with Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial. No, He came back to life! He promises to bring us back to life once we die because He is alive. He defeated both sin and death. Hallelujah!
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Are you free to read about another saint now that you have read the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Prayer?
Why not look into:
- St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Top 11 Joyful Spirituality Aspects of Her Shining Light for Our Times
- ‘Prayer for Our Mother of Perpetual Help’ – 11 Top Tips to This Inspiring Prayer that Will Reignite Your Devotion
- “Prayer to St Jude for Financial Help”: Are Your Finances in Crisis? 11 Top Tops to Restore Your Hope
- ‘St Therese Prayer Novena’: 14 Top Tips – Unlock Saintly Guidance Through this Little Way Novena
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