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Holy Cross Day – Monastic Lent

Holy CrossSeptember 14 is Holy Cross Day, the Triumph of the Cross, the Exaltation of the Cross.

St Helena, having discovered the true cross of Jesus 14 September 326 (the “Invention of the Cross” sic. – 3 May) had a basilica in Jerusalem built over the spot. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was dedicated on 14 September 335.

The Rule of St Benedict 41:6 changes the eating habits of the monks – who should from now until Lent eat at None. This date, hence, has been taken as starting “monastic Lent”. We too might change our pace. In the Southern Hemisphere we can take on some of the Spring practices of our Northern Hemisphere siblings attached to Lent.

We can also reflect on the cross – how it marks us at baptism; how it is spiritual “brain gym” as we cross the centre line, beginning prayer by involving both hemispheres of our brain, to the final point of our journey when we are signed with the cross in death – fully joining Christ’s death.

We can reflect on how we make the sign of the cross sloppily; domesticate it in pretty jewellery; devalue it by cluttering every last liturgical object with yet another cross or crosses,…

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