Sayings of the Saints
  • On the Mystery of the Cross
" And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary."
                --JOHN 19:2

Let no one, my brethren, blush at those sacred and adorable marks of our
redemption. The cross of Jesus Christ is the source of every blessing; it is through
that we live, through that, we are what we are. Let us carry the cross of Jesus, and
adorn ourselves with so glorious a crown. It is the zeal and fulfillment of everything
which appertains to our salvation.

If we are regenerated in the waters of baptism, the cross is there present; if we
approach the table of the Lord to receive His holy Body, it there appears; if we
receive the imposition of hands to consecrate us as ministers of God, it is still there;
in fact, we see in everything that adorable sign which is, at once, the cause and
emblem of our victory.
We have it in our houses, we hang it and paint it on our walls, we engrave it on our
doors, and we should ever carry it in our hearts; for the cross is a sacred monument
which recalls to memory the work of our salvation, the regaining of our ancient
freedom, and the infinite mercy of Jesus Christ.

When, then, you make the sign of the cross on the forehead, arm yourself with a
saintly boldness, and reinstall your soul in its old liberty; for you are not ignorant
that the cross is a prize beyond all price.
Consider what is the price given for your ransom, and you will never more be slave
to any man on earth. This reward and ransom is the cross. You should not, then,
carelessly make the sign of the forehead, but you should impress it on your heart
with the love of a fervent faith! Nothing impure will dare to molest you on seeing
the weapon which overcometh all things.

Be not, then, ashamed of the cross, in order that Jesus Christ be not ashamed of
you, when He will come, clothed in the Majesty of His glory, accompanied by this
sign of our redemption, which will then, shine more brilliant than the sun. Engrave it
in your heart; lovingly embrace that which procured the salvation of our souls; for it
is the cross which has saved and converted all the world is that which has banished
heresy and unbelief, which has reestablished truth, which has made a heaven on
earth, and which has transformed men into angels. It is by means of the cross that
the devils have ceased to appear formidable, and are now only to be despised; it is
through that, that death is now no longer death, but only a long sleep. In fine, it is
through the cross that all our enemies have been conquered.

If you find, then, any one who says, "What! you worship the cross?" answer him with
a tone of voice that betokens firmness, Yes, I do worship it, and shall never cease
to do so. If he laugh at you, pity him, and shed tears for his blindness; and say
boldly, We protest before heaven and earth that our glory is in the cross, that it is
the source of all our blessings, our every hope, and that it is that which has crowned
every saint.

ST. CHRYSOSTOM
On Sixteenth Chapter of St. Matthew


ALL THOSE who belong to Jesus Christ are fastened with Him to the cross. A
Christian during the whole course of his life should, like unto Jesus, be on the cross.
It would be an act of rashness to descend therefrom, since Jesus Christ did not
descend, even when the Jews offered to believe in Him. The time for driving out the
nails of His cross was only after death; there is, then, no time to extract the nails
whilst we live,--we must wait until our sacrifice is consummated: Non est tempus
evellendi clavos (Aug. 205).

This cross to which the servant of God is attached, is his glory, as the apostle said,
" But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ " (Gal.
6:14).
This cross, I say, to which the servant of God should be fastened, not for forty days,
but for life; therefore he who looks piously upon it should consider it as a treasure,
because it teaches him Christ crucified, and he will despise everything to acquire a
knowledge which is only to be learned in the school of the cross.

Formerly, it was looked upon as an object of horror, but Jesus Christ has made it so
worthy of respect and veneration , that kings and princes have forbidden the
punishment of crucifixion to be continued, in order to do honor to those faithful
servants, who gloried in a punishment which our Lord and Savior has so ennobled.
And this wood to which the Jews had nailed our Lord, accompanied as it was by so
many outrages and insults, has become so worthy of honor, that kings have
imprinted it on their foreheads, and in union with the lowest of their subjects they
look upon the cross of Jesus Christ as the ship which will guide and carry them
safely into harbor.

So strong sometimes are the storms of life that strength of arm is of no avail, and
there is no other means to save us from shipwreck than trusting in the cross of
Jesus Christ by which we are consecrated.

ST. AUGUSTINE
From Sermons 75 and 88