Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Dear friends, today as I prepare to share some few thoughts with you about the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, my mind is also filled with other images, painful and terrifying images, in fact. This week we remembered the twelfth anniversary of the horrid attack of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the attack on the Pentagon and the courageous passengers who tried to retake Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The entire World was stunned that such massive evil could unfold at the hands of violent men. Even in the midst of our shock and disbelief there were signs of courage, hope, and new life. I am sure you will remember how many huge pieces of metal from the Twin Towers, several of which remained standing in the form of a cross at the heart of the location, were taken from this site of evil and destruction and fashioned into a memorial of love and remembrance. This cross of death will be found at the epicenter of a new memorial to healing and new life. All the world will remember and feel what needs to be felt whenever it gazes upon that metallic cross now so lovingly fashioned in remembrance of those who died.
The Cross of Christ is certainly the model for such remembrance, not only in our present time, but for all of history. The instrument that brought death to the Lord we carry in our hearts as a sign of triumph, exultation, and victory. There is a song that we Passionists frequently sing at various feasts proper to our special love and devotion for the suffering and Passion of Christ. The song is entitled, Now We Remain. It is a wonderful hymn as well as a mediation so fitting for the feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross that we celebrate today. The words are lovely. "We hold the death of the Lord deep in our hearts, living now we remain with Jesus the Christ." With these words we declare that we will not forget, that we shall always remember what it is that our Crucified Lord did for us in that desolate place called Calvary. In some profound way that surpasses human understanding what happened there and what so horribly took place at the Twin Towers is forever fused as one in the saving memory of the Passion of Jesus.
What an important thought for us whenever the anniversary of 9/11 draws near and we prepare for the wonderful feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. Just as the death of the Lord won salvation for each and every one of us, so also do we pray, indeed believe deep in our hearts, that the darkness and devastation of terrible events will in some way not yet imagined, bring about the bright light and new life that emanates from peace, healing, and reconciliation.
Fr. Pat Brennan, CP is the director of St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.