Today, September 21, is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle. A few years ago Pope Benedict offered a reflection on St. Matthew which I read this afternoon and wanted to share with you. A lot of articles on the web quote from it, but they often don’t give the reference, beyond saying it’s from 2006 by Pope Benedict. That didn’t give me much to go on, but it was enough as it turns out. So if you like, take a few minutes to read and reflect on Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience from August 30, 2006.
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 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.”
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+
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.)
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Sunday, November 24, is the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of Ordinary Time in the liturgical year. Next Sunday will be the first Sunday of Advent. (I’m all set to start decorating for Christmas on that day. More on that later.) Here’s a prayer to pray tomorrow when you go to Mass. I’m going to print this out and take it with me. H/T to @annie3592. God bless you, every one, and may the peace of Christ be with you always.
Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King.
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart. Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger. Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd. Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.
Prayer Source: Enchiridion of Indulgences , June 29, 1968