Holy Cross Day: A Special Feast Day for Companions
HOLY CROSS DAY, SEPTEMBER 14:
``A day for recognizing the Cross as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ’s victory over death, and a reminder of His promise, ‘And when I am lifted up, I will draw all people unto me.’``
It is Holy Cross Day, 2021. Companions celebrate this occasion at Adelynrood, our beloved home base and retreat center, with a procession to what we call the “Great Cross.” It stands on a granite outcropping, reminding us who we are – Companions of the Holy Cross – from many vantage points around the house.
In honor of the occasion, I am cribbing information about this feast day from James Kiefer, who writes in depth with great wit and charm about each feast day in my Daily Office phone app from the Mission of St. Clare. Kiefer writes, “September 14th has become a day for recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph, as a sign of Christ’s victory over death, and a reminder of His promise, ‘And when I am lifted up, I will draw all people unto me.’ (John 12:32)”
Kiefer traces where the cross as a symbol is found in early writings, and how it eventually came to be used at contemporary baptisms, marking a cross in fragrant oil on the forehead of the person being baptized. We have all seen Christians make the sign of the cross at various points, meaning, “This is Christ’s body that I am about to receive,” or “May my loved one rest in peace,” or “God protect me!” or just “At the name of Jesus I make this sign.”
Earlier this month, to my shame, I had forgotten that Holy Cross Day was coming up, or I would have delegated writing this post to one of many talented Companions. I’ve been too wrapped up in worldly concerns about modern communications, websites, and getting things done.
Now that very day has arrived. Time to stop, think about the cross. What does it mean for me? I belong to God.
I understand that phrase in the language of our Christian tradition, and as a Companion of the Holy Cross. I try to remember the love of God poured so generously on me. I try to live in a spirit of gratitude and concern for others, aiming for “righteousness,” not to be confused with self-righteousness, and then I mess up over and over. Asking for forgiveness, and crossing myself when the priest makes a big sign of the cross over the congregation, saying, “Forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ. Keep you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, keep you in everlasting life.”
That’s what comes to me on this busy day. What does the cross mean to you?