(The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is September 14th)
We see images of the Cross of Christ so frequently, that for many of us it has lost the power behind its meaning. For those who loved Christ, or anyone who was executed on a cross, this image was incredibly traumatic; it immediately brought back memories of the worst moment in their life. Why then, do we “exalt“ it? Why does the priest raise it up for all to see, just before the faithful do a prostration and venerate it?
The reason reveals that we have two major options when it comes to dealing with our own past and future traumas. Without embracing the Kerygma (the proclamation of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) “moving on” from trauma generally means not letting that negative past experience debilitate this present day. The event or experience is still seen as negative and unfortunate, but its effect has been dulled.
If we do embrace the Kerygma, and let it build our faith and union with God, past traumas can not only be healed, but revealed as moments of evil that have been trampled by Christ, and used by Him to improve the life, and death, of those who embrace it.
So the exaltation and veneration of the cross of Christ is a “thank you” for Jesus’s utter transformation of sin and death into charity and Life, and a ritual of hope for that same action to be imposed on our own traumas. So whenever we see the image of the cross in our homes, around our neck, held by a preacher, or surrounded by flowers on the tetrapod, our prayerful response should be both a gracious “thank you” for Christ’s trampling of death and granting of Life, and a hope-filled “please” that He will help me realize the He will do the same “trampling” and “granting” to my current anxieties.
Saturday, September 12 –