A Cross Grows from a Seed
September 14th marks the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Everyone knows Our Lord carried the Cross through Jerusalem and was crucified on it on Calvary. But do you know the rest of the legend?
Let's start with a quick quiz:
The true cross was carried through Jerusalem by ______.
B. Simon of Cyrene
C. The Holy Roman Emperor
D. All the Above
Every Christian and non-Christian alike knows that Our Lord carried the cross through Jerusalem, and if you've ever said the Stations of the Cross then you probably know that Simon of Cyrene was coerced into helping Him for part of the way. What you might not know is that the True Cross would one-day be carried through the streets again on the back of the Holy Roman Emperor.
There is a fascination with the True Cross that on some levels exceeds other mysterious artifacts like the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail and the legend is better than anything Spielberg could concoct. Monsignor Ronald Knox says of the cross that it bears many symbolic similarities with things in the Old Testament. It reminds us of the Ark, the healing serpent of Moses, and the tree in Eden.
The first legend says that when Adam lay on his death bed, the Archangel Michael appeared to his son Seth and gave him a seed from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Seth placed this seed in the mouth of Adam when he was buried.
From Adam's mouth grew a tree which was chopped down centuries later. For an unknown reason, the wood couldn't be used for anything so it was thrown across a river to serve as a bridge. On her journey to see Solomon, the Queen of Sheba was approaching this bridge when she received a vision which prophesied that Our Saviour would one day hang upon this wood. The queen hurried to King Solomon to tell him the story, which he immediately understood as a warning message.