What’s in That Prayer? The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14):

Deus, qui nos hodiérna die Exaltatiónis sanctæ Crucis ánnua solemnitáte lætíficas: præsta, quǽsumus; ut, cujus mystérium in terra cognóvimus, ejus redemptiónis prǽmia in cælo mereámur.

Here is my translation:

O God, who dost give us joy this day on the yearly solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: grant, we ask, that as we have known its mystery on earth, we may merit the rewards of its redemption in Heaven.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, Who dost this day gladden us by the yearly Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, grant, we beseech thee, that even as we have understood the mystery thereof upon earth, so we may worthily enjoy in heaven the fruits of the redemption which was paid thereon.

The necessity of the Catholic Faith is implicit in this prayer, wherein we ask that the knowledge of the Mystery of the Holy Cross on earth may make us worthy to enjoy in Heaven the fruits of that same Holy Cross. “Without Faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Without that supernaturally infused gift of knowledge of the Mystery of the Holy Cross that we call the theological virtue of Faith we simply have no hope of benefiting from its fruits. But with that “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ [our] Lord” (Philippians 3:8) and the supernatural endowment that accompanies it, we can merit “the fruits of redemption.”

Note that, properly speaking, we cannot merit supernatural life without Faith, but with Faith, and the grace and other theological virtues that are infused with it at Baptism, we can indeed merit eternal life.

Grace gives way to glory. Faith gives way to vision. Hope gives way to possession. Charity gives way to nothing, because charity abides forever: “the greatest of these is charity” 1 Cor. 13:13).

Dom Gueranger’s excellent Liturgical Year reading for this feast may me found on the wonderful Sensus Fidelium site.