Saturday, September 14, 2013

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross:
The Cross, Prayers and Indulgences

Christ Carrying the Cross by Titian
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Today we honor the Cross of Christ.  "Devotion to the Holy Cross dates back to the earliest days of Christianity. The feast itself has been celebrated since the fourth century. Today the Church commemorates the recovery of the True Cross by the Emperor Heraclius following his victory over the Persians." (In Conversation with God, Vol 7, p.140). I recommend reading some of St. Josemaria Escriva's reflections. For now, I would simply like to share some prayer and indulgences related to the Cross. All were obtained from the Handbook/Manual of Indulgences.

22 En ego, o bone et dulcissime Iesu
Prayer before a Crucifix 
Good and gentle Jesus, I kneel before you. I see and I ponder your five wounds. My eyes behold what David prophesied about you: “They have pierced my hands and feet; they have counted all my bones.” Engrave on me this image of yourself. Fulfill the yearnings of my heart: give me faith, hope, and love, repentance for my sins, and true conversion of life. Amen.

(Psalm 22:17-18; Roman Missal, pp. 935-936.) On any Friday during Lent a plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who, after communion, devoutly recite the above prayer before an image of Jesus Christ crucified. On other days of the year the indulgence is a partial one.

55 Signum crucis
Sign of the Cross 
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly sign themselves with the cross while saying the customary formula: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

63 Viae Crucis exercitium
Stations of the Cross
A plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly make the Stations of the Cross. This devout exercise of the Stations of the Cross helps renew our remembrance of the sufferings that our divine redeemer underwent on his journey from Pilate’s praetorium, where he was condemned to death, to Mount Calvary, where for our salvation he died on the cross. The norms for obtaining this plenary indulgence are the following:
  1. This devout exercise must be performed before stations of the cross that have been lawfully erected. 
  2. Fourteen crosses are required in order to erect the Stations of the Cross. As an aid to devotion these crosses are customarily attached to fourteen tableaux or images representing the Jerusalem stations.
  3. In accord with the more common custom, this devout exercise consists of fourteen pious readings to which are joined some vocal prayers. But in order to perform this devout exercise it is required only that one devoutly meditate upon the passion and death of the Lord. It is not required that one meditate upon each of the individual mysteries of the stations.
  4. Movement from one station to the next is required. If this devout exercise is carried out publicly and such movement by all present cannot be done without some disorder, it is sufficient that the person who is leading the exercise move from station to station while the others remain in their places.
  5. Persons who are legitimately prevented from fulfilling the above requirements can obtain this indulgence if they at least spend some time, e.g., fifteen minutes, in devout reading and meditation upon the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. Equivalent to this devout exercise of the Stations of the Cross — even with regard to obtaining the indulgence — are those other devout exercises which have been approved by competent authority and which call to mind the remembrance of the Lord’s passion and death in a manner similar to the Stations of the Cross.
  7. In order to obtain this indulgence, the patriarchs can establish some other devout exercise in memory of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ for those Eastern Christian faithful whose usages do not include this exercise of the Stations.