Christ Crucified

 

 

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The feast of the Cross-is celebrated twice: once on September 27th and the other on March 19th.

The Cross…once a symbol of shame has become the sign of glory. This is the mystery which remained hidden throughout the ages and now revealed by God to the whole world though the death and resurrection of Christ: That God had the intention right from the beginning to uplift the sinful and fallen creation to the state of adoption, that He might become one with it through the incarnation of His Word through Whom He accomplished its redemption from sin and death on the cross.

It is the central symbol for Christians, not only as the instrument of the world's salvation by the crucified Christ, but also as the constant witness to the fact that men cannot be Christians unless they live with the cross as the very content of their lives in this world. If the cross is not assumed and firmly planted at the heart of our lives, there is no victory over death nor over the death inherent in every sin.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem comments on the Cross, saying, "Christ stretched out His arms on the Cross in order to embrace the ends of the earth." (Catechesis, lect. 13:28) Likewise, St. Athanasius the Great, considered the purpose of the crucifixion to be this: "It was that He might draw His ancient people with one hand and the Gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself." (On the Incarnation, 25)

A hymn declares: "Hail life-giving cross, unconquerable trophy of true faith, door of Paradise, succor of the faithful, rampart set about the Church! Through thee, the curse is utterly destroyed, the power of death is swallowed up, and we are raised from earth to heaven: invisible weapon, adversary of demons, glory of martyrs, true ornament of holy monks, haven of salvation bestowing on the world great mercy."

 

 

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