April 13, 2024

Homily Four for the Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross (St. John of Kronstadt)

By St. John of Kronstadt

“We venerate Your Cross, O Master,
and Your holy Resurrection we praise and glorify.”

What is the thinking behind the Holy Church bringing out from the depths of the altar the life-giving Cross of the Lord and offering it for the veneration and kissing of the faithful? The thought is that her true children - who go through the field of fasting and struggle with their flesh with its many passions and with the devil, who during the fast especially kindles his arrows in their flesh - gazing at the Cross and vividly imagining the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He endured for our salvation in His most pure flesh, be strengthened through this for the struggle with their flesh, with her passions and lusts, and so that they do not spare to crucify her with her passions, and courageously fight against the adversary, who is arrayed against us with manifold temptations.

See how the Lord tells us this from the Cross, "For what I endured for you in My most pure flesh, inviolable by any sin, which I assumed for your salvation: will you refuse to crucify various passions and lusts in your flesh? Can't you bear some of the bitterness of fasting? Will you not tolerate deprivation of sweets for a while in order to tame the flesh, which, the more you delight and satiate it, the more it becomes enraged? Will you not tolerate the fiery arrows of the enemy when I have allowed him to pierce My divine flesh with all kinds of arrows?"

This is the thinking behind which the Cross is now brought out for veneration and kissing. Therefore, do not lose heart from fasting and from the fight against the passions and the devil; but fight courageously, calling for help on the One who suffered for us and defeated our enemies with the Cross, and win. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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