Exultation of the Holy Cross (September 14, 2017)
Today we celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Christ’s victory over death on a cross reveals the radiance of God’s pure love for us. St. Francis de Sales notes:
Out of Jesus’ death on the cross comes eternal life. Our Savior’s death purchased for us a life of eternal glory. The world does not understand this wondrous paradox of our Savior’s Cross. His death was an excess of love that was eternally life giving to us.
On the cross, Jesus showed us how to save ourselves through holy love. Nothing urges on a person’s heart so much as love. Like a loving nurse, Jesus tenderly nourished us on the cross with an incomprehensible love. He wanted to make us understand that the love He bore us was undiminished by his suffering.
On the cross, Jesus also wanted to teach us how our heart ought to be toward our neighbor. Seeing the ignorance and weakness of those who tormented Him, He forgave them on the cross. A prayer of forgiveness is a sacrifice. It is the sacrifice of our lips and our heart that we present to God as much for our neighbor as for ourselves.
On the cross, Jesus fed us with his own flesh and blood. God sent Jesus to heal our human brokeness. Indeed, He died with a holy joy for our cure, although it cost Him His life. He forgot Himself but not His creatures. Let us not be frightened or give up in our struggle to overcome evil with holy love and truth as Jesus did. Let us firmly and faithfully pursue the course that Jesus traveled first and the saints after Him.
We ought to consecrate every moment of our life to the divine love of our Redeemer’s Cross. That is, to his glory we must bring home all our works, actions, thoughts and affections. Then, we too will be alive to God in Christ Jesus, whose victorious and exalted Cross we celebrate today.
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially his
Treatise on the Love of God ; Sermons, L. Fiorelli, ed.)