Uncovering of the Precious Cross and the Precious Nails by the Empress St Helen in Jerusalem
Commemorated on March 6
St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
What does it mean to take up our cross?
Taking up our cross means obediently and humbly submitting ourselves to those temporary sorrows and afflictions that Divine Providence sees fit to allow against us for the cleansing away of our sins. Then the cross will serve us as a ladder from earth to heaven. The thief in the Gospels who ascended this ladder ascended from out of terrible crimes into most radiant heavenly habitations. From his cross he pronounced words filled with humility of wisdom; in humility of wisdom he entered into the knowledge of God, and through the knowledge of God, he acquired heaven. We receive the due reward of our deeds, he said. Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom (Lk. 23:41–42). When sorrows encompass us, let us also, beloved brothers and sisters, repeat the words of the good thief—words that can purchase paradise!
Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!
Through the cross we open paradise to ourselves.
St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) ,On carrying your Cross
Translated by Nun Cornelia (Rees)
A Prayer to the Crucified Lord
(Saint Isaac the Syrian)
Lord Jesus Christ, You Who wept over the death of Your friend Lazarus and shed tears of sorrow and sympathy for him, accept my tears with which I indicate the sorrow I feel for my sins. Through Your sufferings, Lord, heal the passions of my soul. Through Your wounds, cleanse the wounds of my soul, which sin has brought upon me. Through Your Precious Blood, sanctify my blood and make my whole body fragrant with the spiritual aroma of Your Life-Giving Body. May the bitter gall, given to You, Lord, upon the Cross by Your enemies, sweeten the bitterness and grief brought upon my soul by the evil enemy. May Your Sacred Body, stretched upon the wood of the Cross for my sake, motivate me to stretch toward You my whole attention and mind, which has been drawn by the evil spirits toward the material, earthly and corruptible things. May Your head, which inclined upon the Cross, cause my head to be raised up toward the heavenly and the spiritual things. May Your All-Holy hands, which were pierced with nails by lawless unbelievers, draw me and raise me from the precipice of destruction, and bring me to You, as Your own Holy lips have promised. May Your face, stricken and reviled by those who crucified You, purify and brighten my face which is sullied with my sins and transgressions. May Your soul, delivered to Your Heavenly Father, guide me to be in Your presence and under the protections of Your grace. Amen.