2016
custodia.org

The cross has become the instrument that elevates man

The St. Helen’s Chapel has been finely decorated. Its usual austerity has given way to red and gold drapes. Today, the deepest cavity inside the stone quarry that was the Holy Sepulcher at the time of Jesus has gone back in time.
The true cross is celebrated where it was thrown after the crucifixion, underneath Calvary. That is the place, where, according to tradition, St. Helen found it in the fourth century. Today, the lowest point of the basilica elevates us to heaven. Today is the feast of the Invention of the Cross, celebrated inside the chapel which carries the same name.
This feast is celebrated on May 7 and it no longer exists in the liturgical calendar outside of Jerusalem (and in monastic breviaries). But this is a major solemnity for the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The solemnity begins with First Vespers in the chapel of the Invention, interrupting the rhythm of daily procession, into which they are incorporated. The feast is still celebrated in the middle of the night when the doors of the Holy Sepulcher open before the procession of the Franciscans for the Office of Readings at half past midnight. And again the next day with Lauds incorporated into the Eucharistic celebration.
The highlight of the ceremony is without a doubt the procession of the Invention into the Chapel of the Empty Tomb. The three laps around the shrine precede the triple blessing: before the tomb, at the Chapel of the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and then at the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament or the chapel of Jesus’ apparition to his mother.
Br. Dobromir Jazstal, Custodial Vicar, presided over the ceremonies. “The cross is the necessary passage to the glory of the Resurrection. He who through baptism was marked with the sign of the cross, looks at the cross and in his heart he can see the One who was raised up on the cross. But this is not enough. The mystery of the cross must become a criterion for our lives. Without it, our faith becomes sterile and unrealistic. The cross elevates man and his life if all of our actions are guided by the logic of the cross. Have within yourselves the same sentiments as Jesus. One must know how to lose in order to win, as Christ did. The apparent failure of the cross became the victory of love. May the cross of Christ that we venerate today be for us also the sign of our salvation.” The custodial vicar’s words pierced through the silence of a moved audience.
During the procession, the crowd grew, attracted to this ultimate sign of salvation. Maria, a Czech pilgrim, was crying. “Tears of joy, she said, because by his death on the cross, he brought us salvation.”

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