Was a splendid afternoon and evening yesterday...

With shining blue skies, and cool; the morning today is damp and cloudy and not very warm. By the later afternoon, doubtless it will be beautifully sunny again-- I remember when I first moved to Eugene, I thought, 'Good Lord, it's going to rain again' after mornings like this only for it more often than not to be clear and bright in spite of the dismal beginning of the day. 

It is the feast of the Invention of the Most Holy, Life-giving Cross (Introibo); evidently, it is suppressed in the latest version of the Traditional Rite (the 1962 Missale, the 'Extraordinary Form'). There's nothing about this in 1969's Calendarium Romanum, so the pontifical mischief was presumably done in 1960's revision to the Calendar, as indeed Wikipedia says is the case.


R. Sicut Móyses exaltávit serpéntem in desérto, ita exaltári opórtet Fílium hóminis:

* Ut omnis qui credit in ipsum, non péreat, sed hábeat vitam ætérnam. Allelúja.

V. Non misit Deus Filium suum in mundum ut júdicet mundum, sed ut salvétur mundus per ipsum.

As Moses raised up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be exalted: that all who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life, alleluia. God sent not His Son into the world that He might condemn the world but that it might be saved by Him. 

In the Traditional Rite, today's feast commemorates Saint Helena's discovery, inventio, of the True Cross in Jerusalem and the September feast commemorates the recovery of the True Cross from the Sassanid (the Hellenistic, pre-Mahometan) Persians in 630; evidently, September 14's feast of the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross now marks both events.

Blessed Ildefonso, from his essay for today. He begins by writing that in fact today's feast is the commemoration of the recovery of the True Cross from the Persians and the feast in September is the true commemoration of the inventio. Not wanting to quarrel with the eminent Benedictine, ahem, I've left that out and begin as he takes up the parts of the Mass. 

The Antiphon for the Introit is as that of Tuesday and Thursday in Holy Week, being inspired by a passage in the Epistle to the Galatians 6,14. 'But it behoves us to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by whom we are saved and delivered, alleluia, alleluia. (Psalm 66) May God have mercy on us, and bless us; may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.' 

The Collect is... found in the Gelasian Sacramentary; it alludes to the resurrection of the dead woman on whom the Bishop of Jerusalem is said to have laid the True Cross, in order to distinguish it from those of the two thieves. The wonders accomplished at the time of the passion of Jesus are those of the resurrection of the patriarchs and saints of Jerusalem at the moment when our Saviour died on the Cross. 'O God, who by the glorious discovery of the cross of salvation didst renew the wonders of thy passion; grant, we beseech thee, that through the ransom brought us by this tree of life we may obtain election unto life everlasting.' 

The Epistle (Phil, 2,5-11) is the same as on Palm Sunday. In it the apostle exhorts us to imitate the humility and obedience of Christ, enduring our passion in him and with him, in order to be associated with him in the glory of the resurrection. The feast of the Holy Cross coming amidst the splendours of Paschal time has a deep liturgical significance. Our Lord calls his crucifixion his day of triumph and exaltation: and such indeed it is. Upon the cross he conquers death, sin, and the devil, and on that triumphal tree he erects his new throne of grace, mercy, and salvation. Such is the meaning of the following melodious chant which is derived from Psalm 95: 'Alleluia, alleluia. Say ye among the Gentiles that the Lord hath reigned from the wood. Alleluia.' This reading of the Psalm no longer corresponds with the actual Hebrew text; but it has been transmitted to us by some of the early Fathers, who, like Justin, accuse the Jews of having mutilated the passage. The second alleluiatic verse is as follows : 'Alleluia. Sweet the wood, sweet the nails, sweet the burden which thou bearest, who alone wast worthy to bear the King of heaven and the Lord. Alleluia.’ 

A proof that the Mass did not originate from the Gregorian Sacramentary may be found in the fact that the Gospel (John 3,1-15), instead of being taken from the last discourse of Jesus, according to the Roman use at the Paschal season, comes from another part of the Gospel of St John. However, the choice has been a happy one, for the brazen serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert is a prophetic type of today’s [feast]. 

In the Offertory we no longer mourn, as in Lent, over the humiliation of the Passion, but, on the contrary, we exalt the glory of the triumphant banner, giving voice to a hymn of thanksgiving in honour of the risen Christ. The Offertory (Psalm 97): 'The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord. Alleluia.' The following Secret: 'Look down in thy clemency, O Lord, upon the sacrifice which we offer up to thee, that it may deliver us from all the evil of war; and through the standard of the holy cross of thy Son may establish us securely under thy protection, so that we may crush all the wiles of the enemy. Through the same.' The Preface is that in honour of the cross as during the last two weeks of Lent. The Sacramentaries, however, give this text: . . . per Christum Dominum nostrum. Qui per passionem Crucis mundum redemit, et antiquae arboris amarissimum gustum, crucis medicamine indulcavit; mortemque quae per lignum vetitum venerat, per Ligni trophaeum devicit; ut mirabili suae pietatis dispensatione, qui per ligni gustum a florigera sede discesseramus, per Crucis lignum ad paradisi gaudia redeamus. Per quem, etc. 

The Communion also betrays the same anxiety with which the minds of the Romans were filled at the time when today’s feast was included in the Gelasian Sacramentary: that of imploring the help of God against the invaders of the Roman Duchy: 'By the sign of the cross, deliver us from our enemies, O thou our God. Alleluia.' After the Communion is recited this prayer: 'Being filled with food from heaven, and strengthened with the spiritual cup, we beseech thee, almighty God, that thou wouldst defend from the wicked enemy those whom thou hast commanded to triumph by the wood of the holy cross of thy Son, which is the armour of righteousness for the salvation of the world. Through our Lord.’

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. It is said that Julian the Apostate himself, during a pagan sacrifice, drove away the devil more than once, because he instinctively made the sign of the cross at the very first moment of his appearance. 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. At Rome, on the gates of the city which were restored during the Byzantine period, may still be seen engraved the equilateral cross, which is found also on the mouths of cisterns, on ancient walls, on the apertures of ovens, and on domestic utensils. Until quite recently a little book was used in first teaching children their letters and syllables, called 'Santa Croce' from the holy sign of salvation which, following the tradition of at least fifteen centuries, preceded the alphabet. There have also been handed down to us from very ancient times cases and caskets in the form of a cross for holding relics on which a formula of exorcism was sometimes engraved, as was done on a golden cross which Pius IX himself found in a tomb in the cemetery of Cyriaca. The most celebrated of these crosses having such inscriptions with exorcisms is that which is known by the name of  'the medal of St Benedict', which is still used very efficaciously against the molestations of the Evil One.

Hmm. Cardinals Burke, Koch, Brandmüller, Sarah, Piacenza, and Amato are now raised to the rank of cardinal-priest in the Sacred College. It is chiefly a matter of ceremony but the Lambs and Faggiolis cannot be well pleased that those with doubts about 'the project' are so honored. Time for Sext.

It is also the feast of Saint Peter (10th century), of Saint Ugoccione (13th century), and of Saint Viola (1st century). 

V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum. R. Deo grátias.