Carissimi; Today’s Mass: The Invention of the Holy Cross

The FINDING OF THE HOLY CROSS: Missa “Nos autem”

The “invention” (from Latin invenire, “to find”) of the Holy Cross: The Cross on which Our Blessed Lord suffered for us was, following Jewish usage, buried on Mount Calvary after the Crucifixion. The precise spot was revealed in a vision to the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. Saint Helena reportedly found the Cross on May 3, 326.

After 300 years under the Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337), Life-Creating Cross and the Holy Sepulcher were again discovered and opened for veneration. Desiring to find the Holy Cross, St Constantine sent his mother Helen, to Jerusalem, giving her a letter to St Macarius, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Upon arrival she gave orders to destroy the pagan temple and the statues in Jerusalem. It was an elderly Hebrew by the name of Jude who showed her that the Cross was buried where the temple of Venus stood.

They demolished temple and began to excavate the ground. Soon the Tomb of the Lord was uncovered. Not far from it were three crosses, a board with the inscription ordered by Pilate, and four nails which had pierced the Lord’s Body. A difficulty remained to distinguish which of the three was that on which our Divine Redeemer consummated his sacrifice for the salvation of the world. In this perplexity the holy bishop Macarius, knowing that one of the principal ladies of the city lay extremely ill, suggested to the empress to cause the three crosses to be carried to the sick person, not doubting but God would discover which was the cross they sought for. This being done, St. Macarius prayed that God would have regard to their faith, and after his prayer, applied the crosses singly to the patient, who was immediately and perfectly recovered by the touch of one of the three crosses, the other two having been tried without effect.

This convinced everyone that the Life-Creating Cross was found. A large number of Christians came to venerate the Holy Cross, beseeching St Macarius to elevate the Cross, so that even those far off might reverently contemplate it. The Patriarch with other spiritual leaders raised up the Holy Cross, and the people, cried out Lord have mercy and reverently prostrated before it.

Helen journeyed to other holy places connected with the earthly life of the Jesus, building more than 80 churches, including one at Bethlehem the birthplace of Christ, and on the Mount of Olives where the Lord ascended to Heaven, and at Gethsemane where the Savior prayed before His sufferings and where the Mother of God was buried after her death. Part of the Life-Creating Cross and nails were taken by Helen to Constantinople. Constantine built a large church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ, also including under its roof the Life-Giving Tomb of the Lord and Golgotha.

God has been pleased to give so much power to the Cross that at its sign alone the demons fly; by it the priest blesses the faithful, the devout receive abundant graces. The early Christians had so much devotion to it that, according to the ancient Fathers, they never began any action without first making the sign of the cross upon themselves. In the Middle Ages no public deed, inscription, law etc., was begun to be written without first tracing upon it the sign of the cross. This sign was accepted as the signature of the uneducated; it often preceded that of ecclesiastics, and in many country districts even the dough and the bread were marked with a cross before they were baked.

In the Epistle the triumph of the Redeemer of the world, Our Lord Jesus Christ, must be preceded by “His humiliation unto death, even the death of the Cross.” In the Gospel Christ reveals His mission in His discourse with Nicodemus: “The Son of Man must be lifted up” on the Cross for the salvation of mankind.

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th commemorates the day after the consecration of the church (September 13th 335) built by Macarius and Helena when the good bishop was prevailed upon to elevate the True Cross publicly for the faithful to venerate. It also commemorates the recovery of the True Cross from the Persians by Heraclius in the seventh century.

INTROIT Galatians 6: 14

It behooves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection: by Whom we are saved and delivered, alleluia, alleluia. (Ps. 66, 2) May God have mercy on us and bless us: May He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and may He have mercy on us. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat It behooves us…

COLLECT

God, Who, in the glorious finding of the cross of our salvation, didst renew the miracles of Thy passion, grant that, by the price of that lifegiving wood, we may obtain the privilege of eternal life. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

Commemoration of Pope St. Alexander I and Companions
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that, venerating the natal feast of Thy saints, Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus, and Juvenal, we may, by their intercessions, be delivered from all the evils that threaten us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.

EPISTLE Philippians 2: 5-11

Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Philippians. Brethren, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself as nothing, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: (Here all kneel down) that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 95: 10) Say ye among the gentiles, that the Lord hath reigned from the wood. Alleluia. V. Sweet the wood, Sweet the nails, sweet the load that hangs thereon, to bear up the King and Lord of Heaven, no tree was worthy, save thou, O holy cross. Alleluia.

GOSPEL John 3: 1-15

At that time There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night; and said to Him Rabbi, we know that Thou art come, a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which Thou dost, unless God be with him. Jesus answered and said to him; “Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born again, when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born again? Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he can not enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit, is spirit. Wonder not that I said to thee, You must be born again. The Spirit breatheth where He will; and thou hearest His voice, but thou knowest not whence He cometh, nor whither He goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be done? Jesus answered, and said to him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things? Amen, amen, I say to thee, that we speak what we know, and we testify what we have seen, and you receive not our testimony. If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you believe not; how will you believe if I shall speak to you heavenly things? And no man hath ascended into Heaven, but He that descended from Heaven, the Son of man Who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but may have life everlasting.”

OFFERTORY Psalm 117: 16, 17

The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord, alleluia.

SECRET

Look with favor, O Lord, upon the sacrifice which we immolate to Thee, that it may preserve us from the horrors of war and, through the banner of the holy cross of Thy Son, may establish us in the security of Thy protection, to trample under foot the snares of the enemy’s power. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
Forever and ever. R.Amen.

Secret for the Feast of Pope St. Alexander and Companions
Let plenteous benediction, we beseech Thee, O Lord, descend upon these sacrifices, both to work Thy merciful sanctification in us and to bring us joy in the solemnity of Thy saints. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
R.Amen.

PREFACE of the Holy Cross

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God : Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross: that whence death came thence also life might arise again, and that he, Who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also be admitted while we say with lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…

COMMUNION 

By the sign of the cross, deliver us from our enemies, O Thou our God, alleluia.

POSTCOMMUNION

Filled with heavenly food, and refreshed with the spiritual cup, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that Thou defend us from the. malice of the enemy, as Thou hast bidden us triumph by the wood of the holy cross, the armor of justice for the salvation of the world. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.

Postcommunion Prayer in commemoration of Pope St. Alexander and Companions
Let us pray. Refreshed by partaking of Thy sacred gift, we pray, Thee, O Lord, our God, that by the intercessions of Thy saints Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus, and Juvenal, we may experience the effect of that to which we pay our worship. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

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