Monday, September 12, 2016
The Holy Cross, not like the corpse of a saint!
I always feel uncomfortable coming across a piece of the True Cross in a museum I never know what to do, to gawp or fall on my knees.
Those who are thinking about 'doing something' on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross should remember that a fragment of the Holy Cross has more in common with the Blessed Sacrament than a bit of bone or the corpse of a dead saint.
All the prayers and rites surrounding the True Cross presumed the wood of the Cross was drenched in the life giving blood of Jesus - it was never treated as a merely relic. The Good Friday veneration of the Cross has its origins in the veneration of the Cross in Jerusalem, it seems fitting that a fragment of the True Cross should be used rather than an image of it but, however that is not what the Rite calls for.
Nevertheless when not exhibited for public adoration a fragment of the True Cross should be kept veiled in red, when it is exposed we are supposed to genuflect to it, in the same way as we do when the image is exposed on Good Friday, when it is carried in procession a red canopy or umbrellino is used and when a blessing is given with it, as with the Blessed Sacrament, a humeral veil is used, symbolising the blessing is not the priest's but come directly from God.
NLM has some nice photographs from the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Austria.
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