Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 3 May

detail from 'Saint Helena'; by Cima da Conegliano, c.1495Finding of the Holy Cross

Constantine, having seen in the heavens a miraculous cross when he was on the point of giving battle to the tyrant Maxentius, believed it to be a token of victory and he caused this saving sign to be thenceforth represented on the imperial standards. This was to proclaim openly that he placed all his power under the direction and at the service of Christ. The reward of this act of justice and piety was the discovery of the precious wood of the Cross. The Empress Saint Helena procured for the Church by her fidelity and her researches this great good fortune. Two miracles followed the discovery of the true Cross to guarantee its authenticity. (1) Its contact restored a dead man to life and thus it was distinguished from those on which the two thieves were crucified along with our Lord. (2) According to the testimony of Saint Paulinus “this holy Cross, though divided into innumerable fragments to satisfy the desires of the faithful, yet was not diminished. Thus it is divisible for those among whom it is distributed, but remains entire to the devotion of those who adore it.” The largest portion of this precious wood is at Rome in the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem.

Prayer

“God forbid that I should glory in aught but the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Saint Paul

Practice

Make the sign of the Cross in the spirit of faith when entering the church or beginning the hours of the Little Office of Our Lady, if as a Tertiary, you recite them. There is a little Office of the Cross worthy of being recited if you cannot say that of the Blessed Virgin Mary.