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.
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 …
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.
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