The Exaltation of the Cross

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

As Orthodox Christians we all know how important the Cross is in our Faith. The Cross is the central fact of the Faith, it is not only where Christ was crucified, as we have heard in today's Gospel, but it is also where Christ is risen from the dead. It is also written elsewhere in the Gospels that by losing our life through the Cross, we save our life. In other words if we live for Christ, we will save our life. However, if we live for ourselves, we will lose our life. This is the law of our being and we can see it in all areas of human life.

The spoilt child who lives for himself will not share his toys. Thus he is lonely and bored, he has no-one to play with. His life is lost.

The spoilt man or woman who live for themselves will not share their lives. Thus they are lonely, separated or divorced and live singly and in futility. Their lives are lost.

The spoilt couple living for themselves refuse to have children; they want to make money in their careers. Thus they grow old and frustrated, it is too late to have children. Their lives are lost.

The spoilt rich living for themselves will not share their money. Thus they lie forgotten in the grave, their money taken by the government. Thus their futile lives have no-one to remember them and they contain nothing to be remembered for. Their lives are lost.

The spoilt people living for itself will not share its territory. Thus it lives beseiged because of its egoism, hated by its neighbours and all peoples. Its life is lost.

The spoilt dictator living for himself gains the whole world, controlling territories and peoples. Thus he is unloved, hated by all peoples in the prison of all peoples. His life is lost.

Live selfishly, and you will lose everything, your life will be lost in lonely boredom and you will die selfishly.

On the other hand, the history of the Church teaches us that the saints, who lived for Christ, were neither lonely nor bored, neither futile nor lost.

By living for the Cross of Christ, not only do they not taste of death at the Last Judgement, but even more, they do not taste of the spiritual death and loss of lonely and selfish pride. For, by living through the Cross, they taste of the Kingdom of God come with power, the resurrection of their souls, the Easter of the uplifted heart that comes with repentance, the exalted leap for joy that comes when we take up crosses, weaknesses, difficulties, destinies. Then crosses become instruments of victory, weapons of salvation, Exaltation, because we no longer lock ourselves up, selfishly giving nothing, but instead looking to others.

St John Chrysostom speaks of 'the sacrament of our neighbour'. In other words he means that salvation comes to us through others, the challenges and difficulties brought to us by others. Only the proud can imagine the fantasy that salvation comes from ourselves. Let us today go out and take up our crosses, and rejoice and exalt in them, for they have become through the power of Christ, the instruments of our salvation.

Amen.

See also
The Exaltation of the Cross The Exaltation of the Cross
September 14/27
The Exaltation of the Cross The Exaltation of the Cross
September 14/27
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
There is a passage in the Gospel in which the Lord says to us, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13). These words resolve the antinomy between the horror of the Cross and the glory of it, between death and the Resurrection.
On The Exaltation of the Precious Cross On The Exaltation of the Precious Cross
St. John of Shanghai
On The Exaltation of the Precious Cross On The Exaltation of the Precious Cross
St. John of Shanghai
This appearance of the Cross made emperors who had formerly persecuted Christians into defenders of the Church from her external enemies, into “external bishops,” to use the expression of the holy Emperor Constantine.
Sermon on the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Sermon on the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
Sermon on the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Sermon on the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
Archpriest Andrew Phillips
It is also claimed that not only did the apostle Peter found the Church of Rome, but that somehow this gives the Church of Rome some special supremacy and superiority over all the other Churches. This is clearly not true, for the Church of Antioch, which was founded by St Peter, has never claimed any superiority. In reality, when our Lord says in the Gospel: ‘Thou art a rock and on this rock I will build my Church’, it refers not to some special authority given to Peter, it concerns all who confess Christ as the Son of the Living God. All who make this confession have authority, all who confess Christ truly are rocks and are granted the keys to the kingdom.
Comments
Lena Buhr9/27/2013 10:45 am
That was wonderfully put. Just what I needed, at the right time I am not orthodox but do appreciate the orthodox teachings. In fact, I've had my heart towards the orthodox faith intensily these couple of weeks. The Liturgy, readings etc, appeal greatly within me. Maybe it's time to consider a turn in Life, who knows. Thank You, father Phillips
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×