Feast of the Holy Cross

feast of the holy cross3

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  The origin of this feast lies in the 4th century.  Legend has it  that when Saint Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, visited the Holy Land, she saw there was a pagan temple over the spot where Jesus is thought to have been crucified. She moved to have the temple razed and asked that her son build a church.  During the excavation, three crosses were found.  The story continues that a sick woman touched the one thought to be that of Our Savior and she was healed.

From this early time, the Church has venerated the Cross as a reminder of the healing power of Christ’s love, poured out for the life of the world. In particular, I want to note the special significance of this feast in light of our 75th anniversary as an archdiocese.

One type of veneration of the Cross is to pray the litany of the Holy Cross.  We know from the diary of Father Andrew White, S.J., that such a litany was prayed by the first group of Catholics who arrived at Saint Clement’s Island in southern Maryland in 1634.  Father White wrote, “We erected it [the cross] as a trophy to Christ the Savior, while the Litany of the Holy Cross was chanted humble on our bended knees, with great emotion of soul.”

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, it seems only fitting that we make this litany part of our prayer on this the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Litany of the Holy Cross

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, our Advocate,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Cross on which the Lamb of God was offered,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Hope of Christians,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Pledge of the resurrection of the dead,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Shelter of persecuted innocence,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Way of those who have gone astray,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Consolation of the poor,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Restraint of the powerful,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Refuge of sinners,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Terror of demons,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Guide of youth,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Hope of the hopeless,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Safeguard of childhood,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Strength of manhood,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Last hope of the aged,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Wisdom of the foolish,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Liberty of slaves,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Knowledge of the ignorant,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Sure rule of life,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Heralded by prophets,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Preached by apostles,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Glory of martyrs,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Study of hermits,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Chastity of virgins,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Joy of priests,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Foundation of the Church,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Salvation of the world,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Support of the weak,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Medicine of the sick,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Bread of the hungry,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Fountain of those who thirst,
Save us, O Holy Cross.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You,
R. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Behold the Cross of the Lord.
By the power of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ may the power of evil be vanquished.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered. Alleluia.   Amen.

Let us pray:
O God, who for the redemption of the world,
was pleased to be born in a stable and to die upon a Cross;

O Lord Jesus Christ, by Your sufferings, which we, Your unworthy servants,
call to mind:  by the Holy Cross and by Your death,
deliver us from the pains of hell and conduct us to Paradise
as you did the good thief who was crucified with You,
who lives and reigns eternally in Heaven.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.