Archive for January, 2006|Monthly archive page

An Oxymoron

An oxymoron is a combination of words that seem to contradict each other like “deafening silence” or “a mournful optimist.” Triumph of the Cross is an oxymoron. Ask any ancient Roman whether the cross is a triumph and he will tell you “absolutely not.” Ask any modern Christian whether the cross is a triumph and…? I hope you would say “yes” because it is a triumph. Christ’s death on the cross means life for us. On the cross Christ triumphed over sin and death. St. Paul tells the Corinthians, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Fr. McGuire


The Name of Our New Parish

The Feast we celebrate every September 14th is called the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Many books still contain the old name, “Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.” Both names for the feast are actually used by the Catholic Church. This feast could be paired with Good Friday and the Feast of the Sacred Heart. All three days call for red vestments. All three feasts celebrate different aspects of the same mystery of faith. Good Friday is the commemoration of the sacrificial death of Our Lord on the Cross. The Feast of the Sacred Heart celebrates the inestimable love poured out for us on the Cross. The Feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrates the Cross as no longer a sign of humiliation and death, as it was for the ancient Romans, but now as the sign of our triumph in Christ. We begin and end all our prayers by making the sign of the Cross, so important is this sign to us. “We adore you, Oh Christ, and we praise you. For, by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”

Fr. Tim McGuire

The Triumph of the Cross

Recently, while touring the five church buildings that will close when our new building opens, an architect was admiring how beautiful the crucifix at St. Anthony’s is. He said that it should be the centerpiece of the new church. Afterwards he asked, “Why ‘Triumph of the Cross Church’ and not ‘Resurrection Church’?”

I explained the importance of the title in the history of the Catholic Church by saying that “Triumph of the Cross” includes the resurrection but means much more. (There will be more articles reflecting on the name in weeks to come.)

In the Fourth Century St. Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother, traveled to Jerusalem to find the True Cross. On the site of the crucifixion stood a temple to the Roman goddess, Aphrodite. Helena had the temple torn down, and on the spot she built a basilica. While excavating the site she found three crosses buried. She removed the supposed Cross of Christ as a holy relic. The date of the dedication of that new basilica was September 14th. That day became the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

”How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us [Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit], a tree now brought us life” (Theodore of Studios).

We have been offered a small relic from St. Helena’s Cross for inclusion in our new church building.

-Fr. McGuire