A Sunday to Cherish the Cross Approaches

This last week I have begun to really ‘feel’ the fast of Lent. I’ve been told that actually that is normal. This is the week, half way mark of Lent, that most begin to really “feel” the fast and begin to tire, experiencing many cravings and temptations. Interesting that this is exactly why the half way mark of Lent, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, is the veneration of the Cross. The Cross is what we need. The Cross reminds us. In Lent, we embrace the cross. As we embrace it we partake in the sufferings of Christ. Oh so much greater the joy of the Resurrection after embracing the suffering and sacrifice of the Cross!

“The Cross, is wood which lifts us up and makes us great … The Cross uprooted us from the depths of evil and elevated us to the summit of virtue”. St John Chrysostom

“Shine, Cross of the Lord, shine with the light of thy grace upon the hearts of those that honor thee. With love inspired by God, we embrace thee, O desire of all the world. Through thee our tears of sorrow have been wiped away: we have been delivered from the snares of death and have passed over to unending joy. Show us the glory of thy beauty and grant to us thy servants the reward of our abstinence, for we entreat with faith thy rich protection and great mercy. Hail! life-giving Cross, the fair Paradise of the Church, Tree of incorruption that brings us the enjoyment of eternal glory: through thee the hosts of demons have been driven back; and the hierarchies of angels rejoice with one accord, as the congregations of the faithful keep the feast. Thou art an invincible weapon, an unbroken stronghold; thou art the victory of kings and the glory of priests. Grant us now to draw near to the Passion of Christ and to His Resurrection. Hail! life-giving Cross, unconquerable trophy of the true faith, door to 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: invincible weapon, adversary of demons, glory of martyrs, true ornament of holy monks, haven of salvation bestowing on the world great mercy. Come, Adam and Eve, our first father and mother, who fell from the choir on high through the envy of the murderer of man, when of old with bitter pleasure ye tasted from the tree in Paradise. See, the Tree of the Cross, revered by all, draws near! Run with haste and embrace it joyfully, and cry to it with faith: O precious Cross, thou art our succor; partaking of thy fruit, we have gained incorruption; we are restored once more to Eden, and we have received great mercy. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen.”

Great Vespers on Saturday Evening before the Third Sunday of Lent, The Adoration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

One Response

  1. Isn’t it interesting that even in the midst of the Church’s greatest fast, Lent, Sundays are still considered “feast” days as we anticipate Easter? What a perfect mix of feast and famine. Keep writing, Jenny :).

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