Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

St. Helena and the True Cross by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Cincinnati Art Museum, bequest of Mary E Emery

"How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life." - Theodore of Studios


Saints: Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Saunderson
The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke


  • attend Mass
  • Polish the cross you wear around your neck; if you don’t have one, this would be a wonderful day to purchase it.
  • Clean the crosses that hang in your home, or if you do not currently have one, see about purchasing one so that the eyes of your household may literally be on the cross of Christ daily, reminding your hearts to do the same.
  • Tell the story of St. Helena and the finding of the True Cross to your children.
  • According to one legend, the True Cross lay buried beneath a patch of basil, the flower of royalty. St. Helena had never before smelled it’s enchanting scent, but as we know, Italians now are very familiar with basil, so it must have migrated to Rome since Queen Helena’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Consider making a dish with basil for dinner tonight, or perhaps harvesting the remainder of your plants, which do not winter well, and concocting a big batch of pesto to freeze for the winter.

I have written about Holy Cross Day here, here, here and here, as well. Feel free to explore these older posts for inspiration and more ideas on how to celebrate with you family.

Picture credit: “St. Helena and the True Cross” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Cincinnati Art Museum, bequest of Mary E. Emery

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