Thursday, September 14, 2023

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Mid-September brings the ancient liturgical celebration of the “Exaltation of the Holy Cross” (September 14), which is linked to the fourth-century reclamation and first public development of Jerusalem as the center of Christian pilgrimage.

The locations of the death and resurrection of Jesus became accessible for the first time to pilgrims from all places thanks to Emperor Constantine’s official tolerance and increasing public favor of Christianity, along with the work of his mother Saint Helena, who found the original sites and the relic of the True Cross that had been preserved over several centuries of pagan Roman administration of the city.

These places matter to us because God entered human history, died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead there, not thus becoming restrained by these places and moments, but rather establishing Himself as the Center of the fulfillment of history and the radical origin of a new creation, as the Redeemer and Lord of all times and places, of each and every one of us.

The Cross of Jesus is exalted, not with a merely worldly glory, but with the glory beyond anything we can imagine, the endless glory of the God who wants to give Himself to us, the God who is Infinite Love.