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The Cross

Whoever possesses the Cross owns a treasure. By treasure I mean that it is the most excellent of all that is good—in name and in fact. Through the Cross our salvation attains its ultimate greatness and our state of original justice is restored. Without the Cross, Christ would not have been crucified. Without the Cross, He who is life would not have been nailed to the wood. If He had not been cruci­fied the blood and the water, fonts of immortali­ty, which purify the world would not have flowed from His side. The lien of the debt which our sins contracted would never have been torn in two, we would not have been released from bondage. we would not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree. Paradise

would yet be closed to us. Without the Cross, death would not have been defeated nor the abode of the dead vacated.

 

Thus, the Cross is a great and glorious thing. Great. because it is the source of countless favors which, like the miracles and sufferings of Christ. play a decisive role in His work of salvation. Precious. because the Cross sig­nifies the suffering and at the same time the victory of God: suffering, because on the Cross He voluntarily tasted death. And victory: through the Cross the devil received a mor­tal wound, and death, with him. was overcome. On the Cross the gates of the kingdom of death were pulled down and the Cross became the salvation of all men.

 

The Cross is also called the glory and the exaltation of Christ. It is the chalice overflowing of that which the Psalm speaks to us and the culmination of all the torments which Christ suffered for us. Christ Himself teaches us that the Cross is this glory when He says: the Son of Man has entered into His glory, and ‘God has received His glorification through Him, and God has clothed Him with p own glory (cf. John 13:31-32). Again: Glorify me Father, with the glory I had before the world existed (John 17:5). And again: Father, glorify Your name. And suddenly there were heard these words from heav­en: I have glorified it and I will glorify it again (John 12:28)—words which referred to the glory which He would obtain on the Cross.

 

Christ also teaches us that the Cross is this exaltation when He says: I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (John 2:32-33). It is evident, therefore. that the Cross is the glory and the exaltation of Christ.

 

—St. Andrew of Crete, Bishop +A.D. 740


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