May 3rd – The Finding of the Holy Cross
We are on Day Three of the Station of the Cross Catholic Media Network 2023 Spring On-Air Appeal, “Lord, Hear Our Prayers”. Today is traditionally the feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, sometimes called the “Invention” of the Holy Cross, and so we are asking for the intercession of St. Helena, who was responsible for rediscovering the relics of the True Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy and blessed St Helena, with the anguish and devotion with which you sought the Cross of Christ, I plead that you give me God’s grace to suffer in patience the labors of this life, so that through them and through your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the cross which God has placed upon me, so that I can serve Him in this life and enjoy His Glory ever after. Amen.
St. Helena’s Pilgrimage
St. Helena was a Roman Empress, and the mother of Constantine the Great, who before winning the Battle of the Milvian Bridge famously saw a vision of the Cross and the words “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES” – “In this sign thou shalt conquer”. Helena and her son were very close, and after becoming emperor Constantine gave his mother whatever she needed from the imperial treasury to fulfill her plans to locate major Christian relics. She led a long pilgrimage throughout the Holy Land to find important Christian historical sites, building many churches and chapels and locating multiple important relics. The most renowned, of course, is her discovery of the pieces of the True Cross on which Our Lord was crucified. Just outside Jerusalem, she had a pagan Roman temple torn down, and beneath it were found the sites of Calvary and Our Lord’s Tomb. Constantine had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre constructed over the sites to ensure they would never be lost again.
The Miracle of the True Cross
What St. Helena first discovered was in fact the remains of three crosses. Refusing to accept anything other than the definitive relics, she thought of a sure test. A woman, who was at death’s door, was brought from the city, and invited to touch the remains of each cross. The first and the second had no effect, but upon touching the third cross, the woman was miraculously healed. The True Cross had been identified. Today’s feast on May 3rd commemorates this event, while the equally venerable feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th commemorates the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem after it was captured by pagans.
O God, Who in the glorious finding of the Cross of our salvation didst renew the miracles of Thy Passion: grant that by the price of that lifegiving Wood, we may obtain the privilege of eternal life. Amen.
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May God bless you and your family.