St Anselm: Do You Glory in the Cross?

Feast of St Onuphrius of Egypt

Anselm_Square_2.jpegHOLY CROSS, which calls to mind the cross whereon our Lord Jesus Christ died, to bring us back form that eternal death to which our misery was leading us, to the eternal life we had lost by sinning.

I adore, I venerate, and I glory in that cross which you represent to us, and by that cross I adore our merciful Lord and what he has in mercy done for us.

Cross, worthy to be loved, in whom is our salvation, our life, and resurrection.

Most precious wood, by whom we are saved and set free, sign to be reverenced, by which we are sealed for God, glorious cross, we ought to glory only in you.

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We do not acknowledge you because of the cruelty that godless and foolish men prepared you to effect upon the most gentle Lord, but because of the wisdom and goodness of him who of his own free will took you up.

For they could not have done anything unless His wisdom had permitted it, and He could not suffer except that in His mercy He willed it.

They chose you that they might carry out their evil deeds; He chose you that He might fulfill the work of His goodness.

They that by you they might hand over the righteous to death; He that through you He might save sinners from death.

They that they might kill life; He that He might destroy death.

They that they might condemn the Savior; He that He might save the condemned.

They that they might bring death to the living; He to bring life to the dead. They acted foolishly and cruelly; He wisely and mercifully.

Therefore, O Cross to be wondered at, we do not value you because of the intention of their cruel folly, but according to the working of mercy and wisdom.

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In what way, then, shall I praise you, how shall I exalt you, with what love shall I pray to you, and with what joy shall I glory in you?

By you Hell is despoiled, by you its mouth is stopped up to all the redeemed.

By you demons are made afraid and restrained, conquered and trampled underfoot.

By you the world is renewed and made beautiful with truth, governed by the light of righteousness.

By you sinful humanity is justified, the condemned are saved, the servants of sin and hell are set free, the dead are raised to life.

By you the blessed city in heaven is restored and made perfect.

By you God, the Son of God willed for our sakes “to become obedient to the Father, even unto death,” because of which He is exalted and has received “the name which is above every name.”

By you “His throne is prepared” and His kingdom established.

~St Anselm of Canterbury, Prayer to the Holy Cross


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