Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Finding of the Holy Cross

Ant. O Tree loftier than all cedars! whereon hung the Life of the world, and Christ triumphed, and death conquered death for ever, alleluia.

Double of the 2nd Class (1955 Calendar): May 3

May 3rd is the often forgotten traditional Feast of the Finding of the True Cross by St. Helena. Today was in some places known as Roodmas. It is also called the "Invention of the Holy Cross." Today is also the Commemoration of Pope St. Alexander I and his companions in both the 1954 Calendar and in the 1962 Calendar.

The second nocturn of Matins today in the pre-1955 Breviary recounts how St. Helena used a sick person to discern which of several candidates was indeed the True Cross of our Lord. The sick were healed instantly upon touching the True Cross. Despite the liturgical changes of the 1950s and 1960s that saw this feast day dropped even in the 1962 Missal, the Latin rite Catholics in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem still observe this feast. While the feastday is not kept even in the 1962 Missal, priests who offer the 1962 Missal may (and arguably should) say a Votive Mass today for the Finding of the Holy Cross. Since in the 1962 Missal May 3rd is a feria, a Votive Mass may be offered today (unless today falls on a Sunday or another high ranking day in the sanctoral cycle like Ascension Thursday). 

The following is taken from the Brighton Oratory:
The Cross on which Our Blessed Lord suffered for us was, following Jewish usage, buried on Mount Calvary after the Crucifixion. The precise spot was revealed in a vision to the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. This date commemorates the recovery of the True Cross in the reign of the Emperor Heraclius and its delivery by him about the year 629 into the hands of the Patriarch Zacharias of Jerusalem, from which city it had been carried away some years previously by the Persians with the object of transporting it to their own country. God has been pleased to give so much power to the Cross that at its sign alone the demons fly; by it the priest blesses the faithful, the devout receive abundant graces. The early Christians had so much devotion to it that, according to the ancient Fathers, they never began any action without first making the sign of the cross upon themselves. In the Middle Ages no public deed, inscription, law etc., was begun to be written without first tracing upon it the sign of the cross. This sign was accepted as the signature of the uneducated; it often preceded that of ecclesiastics, and in many country districts even the dough and the bread were marked with a cross before they were baked. 
In the Epistle the triumph of the Redeemer of the world, Our Lord Jesus Christ, must be preceded by "His humiliation unto death, even the death of the Cross." In the Gospel Christ reveals His mission in His discourse with Nicodemus: "The Son of Man must be lifted up" on the Cross for the salvation of mankind. 
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14th commemorates the day after the consecration of the church (September 13th 335) built by Macarius and Helena when the good bishop was prevailed upon to elevate the True Cross publicly for the faithful to venerate. It also commemorates the recovery of the True Cross from the Persians by Heraclius in the seventh century.


O God, Who didst cause that the Cross of our salvation should in most honorable wise be found again, and Who didst manifest thereby the marvelous efficacy of thy sufferings, mercifully grant that by the Ransom which Thou didst pay upon that tree of life we may finally attain unto life eternal. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen

Source: 1945 Roman Catholic Daily Missal 

Holy Cross Weather Blessing

Ant. O Cross! brighter than all stars, honoured throughout the world, beloved by men, holiest of holy things, that alone wast worthy to bear the ransom of the world! O sweet Wood! O sweet nails! that bore so sweet a weight! save the people assembled here this day to sing thy praise! Alleluia, alleluia.

From May 3rd, the Feast of the Finding of the Cross, until September 14th, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a special blessing beseeching God’s protection against violent and damaging storms may be given with a relic of the True Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this beautiful prayer from the Rituale Romanum.  Share with your priests and encourage them to say this blessing during this time of year from May 3rd through September 14th on Fridays.

In Latin:

V. A fúlgure, grádine et tempestáte.
R. Líbera nos, Dómine Jesu Christe.

V. Osténde nobis, Dómine, misericórdiam tuam.
R. Et salutáre tuum da nobis.

V. Dómine exáudi oratiónem meam.
R. Et clamor meus ad te véniat.

V. Dóminus vobíscum.
R. Et cum spíritu tuo.

Orémus.  Quaesumus, omnípotens Deus, ut, intercessióne Sanctae Dei Genetrícis Maríae, sanctórum Angelórum, Patriarchárum, Prophetárum, Apostolórum, Mártyrum, Confessórum, Vírginum, Viduárum, et ómnium Sanctórum tuórum, contínuum nobis praestes subsídium, tranquíllam auram permíttas, atque contra fúlgura et tempestátes désuper nobis indígnis tuam salútem effúndas de caelis, et géneri húmano semper aemulas, déxtera poténtiae tuae, aéreas cónteras potestátes.  Per eúndem Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R. Amen.

V. Sit nomen Dómini benedíctum.
R. Ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.

V. Adjutórium nostrum in nómine Dómini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

V. Benedíctio Dei omnipoténtis, Patris + et Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti, descéndat super vos, locum istum et fructus terrae et máneat semper.
R. Amen.

In English:

V. From lightning strikes, hail, and violent storms.
R. Deliver us, O Lord Jesus Christ.

V. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy.
R. And grant us Thy salvation.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.  We beseech Thee, O Almighty God, through the intercession of Holy Mary, the Mother of God, of the holy angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, widows, and of all Thy saints, that Thou show us Thy continuing protection, permit tranquil winds, and also pour out to us, Thy unworthy servants, Thy safety from heaven above against lightning strikes and violent storms, and that Thou remain always protective of the human race and crush down the aerial powers by the right hand of Thy power.  Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen

V. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
R. Now and forever.

V. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon you, this place, and the fruits of the earth and remain forever.
R. Amen.

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