Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 25 July |
The Feast of Saint James the Great
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

A “little sermon” from the crucifix, and Satan’s conquest from a tree


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 09/14/18

The preface of the Holy Cross from the Extraordinary Form is a prayer of victory for today.

Today, the Church celebrates the Triumph of the Holy Cross, reminding us that even when sin seems to have the upper hand, Jesus is already gloriously victorious!

The Preface of the Holy Cross used in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass gives us a prayer of exaltation for this feast.

It refers to the Snake — or as we see in the explanation cited below — a Dragon, who “conquered on a tree,” that is, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from which he convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

But the Prince of Darkness was himself conquered by a tree — the tree of the cross.


Read more:
Was Adam really dumbstruck by a silly little talking snake?

Here, an excerpt from the preface to pray with:

You placed the salvation of the human race upon the wood of the cross, so that where death arose, there life might rise again; and the one who conquered on a tree, might also be conquered on a tree: through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise your majesty, Dominions adore, Powers tremble. Heaven and the Virtues of heaven, and the blessed Seraphim, unite to celebrate together with exultation. Graciously grant, we pray, that our voices may be joined to theirs, in humble praise …


Read more:
When the Devil’s at work, here’s what St. Ignatius says we should do


Read more:
This is why the devil hates the Virgin Mary

Translation found here.

For another meditation, St. Paul of the Cross invites us:

When you are alone in your room, take your crucifix, kiss its five wounds reverently, tell it to preach to you a little sermon, and then listen to the words of eternal life that it speaks to your heart; listen to the pleading of the thorns, the nails, the precious Blood. Oh, what an eloquent sermon!

As the ancient English poem The Dream of the Rood tells us, as if the Cross itself is speaking:

Now the time has come
that I will be honored far and wide
by men over the earth and all this glorious creation;
they will pray to this beacon.

On me the Son of God
suffered for a while; because of that I am glorious now,
towering under the heavens, and I am able to heal
each one of those who is in awe of me.


Read more:
Who was that huge red dragon that brought our little boys to attention at the Assumption Mass?

Prayers for a Particular Need
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Zelda Caldwell
Did Jesus wear “tefillin” as some observant Jews do t...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.