Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. St. Helena had found it and placed it on Mt. Calvary, but Chosroas, King of the Persians, took it. Emperor Heraclius returned it to Jerusalem in 629. While scouring the web for art to use in the Live Twitter Rosary Threads (also see the Rosary Project posted here on the blog), I found a painting of the scene (see image above), but I didn’t know what it was at the time. The story goes (and I’m not implying that it’s a mere story) that the Emperor was attempting to return the Holy Cross—well, here, let me let the folks over at Catholic Culture tell it.

“The lessons from the Breviary tell us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: “Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross.” The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey.”

The Liturgical Year, September 14, Exaltation of the Holy Cross, CatholicCulture.org

The day is also known as the Triumph of the Cross

“This day is also called the Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas. The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy. When Moses lifted up the bronze serpent over the people, it was a foreshadowing of the salvation through Jesus when He was lifted up on the Cross. Our Mother Church sings of the triumph of the Cross, the instrument of our redemption. To follow Christ we must take up His cross, follow Him and become obedient until death, even if it means death on the cross. We identify with Christ on the Cross and become co-redeemers, sharing in His cross.”


There’s more at their post. Worth taking a look.

A good devotional practice, especially for this day, would be the Stations of the Cross. After I learned to pray the Rosary with a CD by Dana and Fr. Kevin Scallon (may he rest in peace) while I was working at the Catholic bookstore, Dana and Fr. Kevin released a CD for the Stations, too. I thought the Rosary CD was lovely but the music for the Stations was/is truly hauntingly beautiful. This track will give you a taste of it so you’ll see (or hear) what I mean. 

Video: Dana and the late Fr. Kevin Scallon, Stations of the Cross, the 12th Station, Track: Jesus dies on the Cross.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, and virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

Christ Crucified, by Diego Velazquez

Notes and Links

  • Exaltation of the Holy Cross, The Liturgical Year, September 14CatholicCulture.org
  • The Rosary, by Dana and Fr. Kevin Scallon: CD. (Amazon affiliate link. See Full Disclosure below for more.)
  • Stations of the Cross, by Dana and the late Fr. Kevin Scallon. CD. MP3 Album. (Amazon affiliate links. See below for more.) At least some tracks also available on YouTube. Here’s the 12th Station.

Images: 1) Emperor Heraclius Recovers the Holy Cross: Shown is the version by an unknown artist in the manner of Scarsellino. Public domain. Several different versions of this scene may be seen at Wikimedia. 2) Christ Crucified, by Diego Velázquez. Both are from Wikimedia and in the public domain. (I edited the color of he first one and added text to the second one.)

Copyright: All material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2021 Lee Lancaster, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. See Permissions and Copyright for more. Quoted material belongs to others and they retain their copyright. Most images and quoted material are in the public domain except for otherwise noted.

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Pentecost: The Holy Spirit, the real and the counterfeit

The Real Holy Spirit

+JMJ+ Welcome to part 22 of our weekly series on the soul. Pentecost is coming up this Sunday. There are some fine articles about it on the web, I’ll link to a few at the end of this post. They’re are worth reading. We need Pentecost because we need the Holy Spirit, alive and burning within our hearts and souls. How can we take part in and hope to win the spiritual combat raging all around us without the Living Flame of His Love in us, strengthening us, guiding us? 

Below is a video of Scott Hahn and Rob Corzine discussing the connection between the Ascension of Our Lord, which we celebrated last week, and Pentecost, which we’ll be celebrating this coming Sunday.

Continue reading “Pentecost: The Holy Spirit, the real and the counterfeit”

Blessed Ascension Day

+JMJ+ I haven’t watched the Ascension Year A episode of the Mass Readings Explained* yet but I will in a few minutes—after I get a fresh cup of tea and the charger for my O2 machine.** (The weekly series on the soul will pick back up after Pentecost.)

Below, video, 6:02 excerpt from the Mass Readings Explained: The Ascension: Why 40 Days?

Continue reading “Blessed Ascension Day”

Happy Mother’s Day 2020

+JMJ+ Happy Mother’s Day, y’all! It’s a strange day this year. Not only do I miss my mom but I haven’t seen any of my friends for weeks. True, I do stay home most of the time anyway. Chronic illness does that to a person. But I used to get out sometimes. Oy! At least I have a gazillion projects to work on and some new ones, too. 

One thing I’m looking forward to this coming week is a 3-day virtual retreat with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. 

Join scholars Dr. John Bergsma, Curtis Mitch, and Rob Corzine for a free three-day event celebrating Our Lady beginning May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Each morning will feature one talk illuminating different aspects of Mary’s role in Scripture and the Church.

Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the month of Mary with this free retreat!

Enter your email [on the St Paul Center page] to be notified when each talk is live. Following the event, watch all talks through May 17. When you register, we’ll send you a bonus Scott Hahn video on “The Rosary of St. Joseph”!

This sounds so good! I signed up for it this morning and tweeted it out but only just now getting around to writing about it here on the blog. I hope you’ll get to attend. Check out the many offerings there on the St. Paul Center site. You’re sure to find something useful there. Online Bible study lessons, books, DVDs in their shop—and the new Quarantine Hub. Now that’s useful as all get out right now!

That’s all for now. I hope you’re having a happy and blessed Mother’s Day. Come back soon, ya heah? :) May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, now and always. Amen. +JMJ+

Happy and Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday, y’all!

Jesus, King of Mercy, I trust in You!

I hope this marvelous feast day has been a time of solace, interior cleansing, and purification, and has helped you have hope in the strange times in which we find ourselves living. The novena ended yesterday but I posted another chaplet prayer thread today anyway. At the end of it I included the Litany to the Divine Mercy from St. Faustina’s Diary. I’m including it here, too. It’s an excellent prayer and one I should turn to more often.

Continue reading “Happy and Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday, y’all!”

He is Risen, Alleluia, Regina Caeli!

He is risen, alleluia, rejoice! I’ve got a few things to share with you on this Easter Sunday. Mostly I want to share my hopes that you and yours will be kept safe and showered with many blessings in the Easter season and beyond.

I don’t know if Christ really did appear to His mother after His Resurrection, but I’d like to think that He did, and apparently some artists (or their patrons) have liked the thought, too. In the beginning (and a few times in other spots) of the video below you’ll see a painting by Juan de Flandes called Christ Appearing to His Mother, a copy of one by Rogier van der Weyden, for Queen Isabella of Castile. The song is the Regina Caeli, the Marian antiphon for the season of Easter. 

And I learned that the Vatican has released a decree on special indulgences granted to the faithful during this time of suffering and need. (Scroll down for more on that. Also see the notes and links at the end of this post.)

Continue reading “He is Risen, Alleluia, Regina Caeli!”

A hole where Holy Thursday should be

Most of us probably won’t (can’t) attend Holy Week liturgies this year. My heart goes out to all the catechumens and candidates who would be experiencing their first Holy Thursday liturgy tonight. My first one back twenty-four years ago, all the way back in 1996, made an indelible impression on me and tears still well up in my eyes as I look back on it. Wrote about it last year. The following is a re-post of that one, with some slight edits. (The weekly series on the soul will return next week.)

Continue reading “A hole where Holy Thursday should be”

The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent

Have to share this with you: During Lent this year the St. Paul Center is offering free viewing of their new series, The Bible and the Church Fathers, with the purchase of a workbook, leader guide, DVD set, or kit. Get to know your Church family and learn how they read the Bible. (Links at the end of this post.)

This Lent, get free streaming of The Bible and the Church Fathers! For a limited time, you can get free access to our premiere video study when you buy a workbook, leader guide, DVDs, or kit.”

Continue reading “The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent”

The Presentation of the Lord, Feb 2, Candlemas

If you haven’t already subscribed to Brant Pitre’s excellent series, The Mass Readings Explained, I highly recommend that you do so. For today’s feast you can view two videos (4:14 and 9:08 in length) and at least part of the transcript even without being a subscriber. (I tried to embed them in this post but coudn’t.) Subscribe to the Mass Readings Explained for access to the full-length videos, the transcripts and study guides. (Links at the end of this post.)

Note: I do not make any commissions from Catholic Productions. I’m just a big fan of their work.

Continue reading “The Presentation of the Lord, Feb 2, Candlemas”

Blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God, Happy New Year!

A few days ago I subscribed to the Mass Readings Explained by Dr. Brant Pitre (link at the end of this post). I’m posting a sample of the video about the Solemnity from that series below. Even this little sample will help you answer those who don’t understand that what the Church teaches about the Blessed Mother is important, and not only important but necessary. To understand (and also to protect) what the Church teaches about Jesus we must understand (and protect) what the Church teaches about the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Continue reading “Blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God, Happy New Year!”

Happy and blessed Fourth of July

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.” — Heb. 13:14

May we all remember that we are citizens of a Kingdom not of this world. Here we are only passing through. May we all answer the Universal Call to Holiness so that we may come to enjoy the Beatific Vision with all the Angels and Saints in Heaven.

Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord, have mercy.

Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, pray for us.


Image credit: The New Jerusalem, by Gustav Doré. Public domain.

Pentecost, the undoing of Babel

Pentecost, by Anthony van Dyck. From Wikimedia, public domain.

I couldn’t stand it. I’ve been eyeing that  book, A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: Old Testament, by John Bergsma and Brant Pitre, and I finally bought the Kindle version. (Yes, I did want the Verbum edition, but I have no idea when that will be out or even if it will be. And patience is not my strong suit.)

One of the first things I did when I started reading this one was run a search for Pentecost. One of the search results, a passage worth quoting at length, was about Pentecost as the undoing of the Tower of Babel. (Links at the end of this post.)

Continue reading “Pentecost, the undoing of Babel”