The Victory of the Cross

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Ode 1 Triodion Canon Verse, Sunday of the Cross

Mighty Cross of the Lord, manifest yourself, showing me the divine vision of your beauty! Grant that I may worthily venerate you, for I speak to you and embrace you as alive!

Last Sunday and this week we place the Holy Cross in our churches to remind us where we are going. The Cross is placed in the midst of the Church. It is decorated with flowers pointing to the joy and victory the Cross brings us.  It leads us to the end goal of Great Lent, the Holy Pascha of our Lord! We need to be reminded of this, because sometimes we get lost in the ascetical practices of the fast, and we lose sight of where we are going. The Cross is that marker placed at the midpoint of Lent to get us back on track.

It reminds me of when I would make my drive from Michigan to St. Vladimir’s Seminary in the early 90’s at the beginning of each semester. It is a 12-hour drive that I did in one shot.  Along the way, around the time when I began to get irritated at the length of the drive, there was a marker either in northeast Ohio, or western Pennsylvania that I would pass. It stated that New York was 900 miles away. When I saw this, it helped me to get refocused on my journey and the end goal of my travel.

How can we use the Cross in our daily family life to remind ourselves of the end goal of Lent? Here are some thoughts.

  • Do you place a Cross that is decorated with flowers in your icon corner as is done in church?
  • Do you sing the Troparion “O Lord Save Your people…” during your daily prayers?
  • Do you sing the hymn, “Before Thy Cross…” at lease once a day with the appropriate prostrations?
  • Have a family discussion this week about what each member looks forward to in anticipating the Pascha of or Lord.
    • Besides breaking the fast, what bad habit does each member look forward to overcoming because of the victory of the Cross?
    • What virtue does one look forward to acquiring due to the victory of the Cross?
  • Discuss as a family how one can be more oriented to thinking of others and their well being, instead of one’s own. How can one humbly be more visible in sharing one’s love for another?

May the Lord continue to bless the remaining time of the Great Fast. May you all come to know the “divine vision” and beauty of the Cross. May this be an ever-present and living reality in all of our lives!

In Christ’s love,

Archbishop Paul

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