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The Glorious Feast of the Cross

 

The Glorious Feast of the Cross

On 27th September 2017, our Church will celebrate the Glorious Feast of the Holy Cross, “remembering that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct…but with precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

 

St. Paul experienced the depth and power of the Cross of Christ and stated, “For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1:18).

 

Indeed St. Paul’s whole world was in orbit around the Cross.  It filled his vision, illuminated his life and warmed his spirit.  He ‘gloried’ in it.  In his epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul highlighted how the Cross liberates the soul by crucifying the flesh, the ego and the world.

 

 

  1. Through the Cross = I Crucify my Flesh

    ”And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  (Galatians 5:24).

    The flesh is not essentially sinful but it is the lusts of the flesh which leads to destruction; these include adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like.  (Galatians 5:19-21).

    “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we should also live with Him.”  (Romans 6:6-8).  The Holy Fast is an excellent opportunity to purify the eyes, cleanse the heart, wash the tongue and clean the ears.

    Father Bishoy Kamel (1931-1979), who loved the Cross of Christ, consistently urged his children to gaze and contemplate daily on the Cross as a means of cleansing our souls from the lusts of the flesh.  We cherish his inspiring words, “A soul without the Cross is like a bride without her groom.”
  2. Through the Cross = I Crucify my Ego

    ”I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20).

    Our number one enemy is our ego.  Pride is the principal source of all our sins, deficiencies and weaknesses in the spiritual path.  For this reason Christ taught us, “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself, will be abased and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Matthew 23:11-12).

    In crucifying our egos we seek to embrace meekness and humility, knowing that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5).  Our meek Lord, who ascended to the Cross to crucify our egos, taught us saying, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his Cross and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  (Matthew 16:24).  St. Isaac the Syrian says, “Whoever pursues honour; honour will flee from him; and whoever flees from honour it will pursue him.”
  3. Through the Cross = I Crucify the World

    ”But God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whomthe world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”  (Galatians 6:14).

    The Apostle James, in similar vain, warns us saying, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  (James 4:4).

    St. Paul applauds the great Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who although affluent, dwelt in tents, “awaiting for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”  (Hebrews 11:10).

    ”For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 3:20).

    His Holiness Pope Shenouda repeatedly guides us saying, “Live in the world but do not allow the world to live in you.”

 

On the Feast of the Cross the Church chants the following doxology:

·Hail to the Cross, the sign of triumph, that is given to Christians for strength.

·Hail to the Cross, the tree in the Paradise, that its perfumed branches give life to everybody.

·Hail to the Cross, the sign of salvation, that Constantine saw shining in the heaven.

·Hail to the Cross, that Helena the Empress, searched for unceasingly until she found it with the nails.

·Hail to the Cross, that God was crucified on, and stretched out His hands to attract everybody to Him.

 

Let us joyfully celebrate the Glorious Feast of the Cross by attending Vespers (Friday night, 18thMarch 2011) participating in the heavenly procession and attending the Holy Liturgy and partake of the Holy Sacraments which is the sacrifice of the Cross.

 

Please remember us in your prayers

COYA Servants

 

Added on 19/03/2014 

The Glorious Feast of the Cross 

On Wednesday, 19th March 2014, the Church will celebrate the Glorious Feast
of the Cross, remembering that we were not, "Redeemed with corruptible
things like silver and gold", says St. Peter, "but with the precious blood
of Christ as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot."  (1 Peter
1:18-19).

It is with love, devotion, reverence and thanksgiving we do the sign of the
Cross daily, expressing our deep love, gratitude and honour to the crucified
Christ who sacrificed His precious blood for my salvation.  In living the
words of the Apostle St. Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no
longer I who lives but Christ lives in me."  (Galatians 2:20).

The early Church Fathers contemplated on the power of the sign of the Cross
as follows:

1.      Tertullian (160-225)
"In all our travels and journeys, in our going out and coming in, when we
put on our clothes or take them off, when we wake up or go to bed, in our
sitting down and rising up, at the table and in all our works, we cross
ourselves with the sign of the Cross."

2.      Origen (185-254)

"The letter 'T' looks like the Cross and the 'Key of life' used by the
ancient Egyptians, the same mark which the Christians make on their
foreheads both before prayers and reading the Holy Books."

3.      St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386)

"We should not be ashamed to confess Christ crucified and make the sign of
the Cross courageously with our fingers as a seal on our foreheads and on
everything, on the bread we eat and the cup of water we drink, when we go
out and come in, wake up or sleep, on our way and at home."

4.      St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

"We know the members of Christ's body by the sign of the Cross. For this
reason, the Lord Himself confirms the power of the Cross on our foreheads
that the sign which was previously a sign of shame became now for pride."

5.      St. Athanasius the Apostolic (295-373)

"By the Cross man can drive away all the deception of the demons, and he who
wants to experience that practically let him/her come and see how the work
of Satan and his false divination and the wonders of magic are destroyed by
just making the sign of the Cross and how the demons flee away."

6.      St. Cyprian of Carthage (195-259)

"Encouraged the martyrs to endure torture saying, 'Make your faces be
sanctified by the Cross and let the sign of God be kept prevailing.'"

7.      St. Ambrose of Milan (340-397)

"We make the sign of the Cross on our foreheads to declare Christ openly,
and make it on our hearts to reveal that we love Him, and make it on our
arms to consecrate our work for Him."

8.      St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

"The sign of the Cross which was previously frightening to all men, now
everyone wants to own a Cross and it is found everywhere, among governors
and people, men and women, married and unmarried.  People cannot stop making
it during every honourable matter; they carry it inscribed on their
foreheads as if it were a flag of victory." He also said, "The face that is
sanctified with the mark of God does not bow down to the devil but keeps
itself to the crown of the Lord.  From the days of our forefathers until
present, this great holy sign abolished the power of poison and healed from
the poisonous bites of the beasts.  It is a medicine for human shortcomings,
anger and lusts."

The sign of the Cross gives us protection, strength and victory as it
appeared to Emperor Constantine in battle and heard a voice from heaven
saying, "By this sign you prevail" and it became a turning point in history
confirmed by what is written in Revelation 12:11, "And they overcame him
(Satan) by the blood of the Lamb."

During the Feast of the Cross the Church chants the following Doxology:

*    Hail to the Cross, the Sign of Triumph, that is given to Christians
for strength.
*    Hail to the Cross, the Tree in the Paradise, that its perfumed
branches give life to everybody.
*    Hail to the Cross, the Sign of Salvation, that Constantine saw
shining in the heavens.
*    Hail to the Cross, the Weapon of Victory, the Throne of the King.

Wishing you a blessed and joyous Feast of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
who said to us, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,
take up his Cross and follow Me."  (Matthew 16:24).  "And he who does not
take his Cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."  (Matthew 10:38).

Please remember us in your prayers,

By Father Matthew Attia
19/03/2014

 

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