The Cross - St. Theodore the Studite

Carlos Overstreet's picture

A Happy and Blessed Feast of the Holy Cross! For many Eastern Catholics, today's feast marks the beginning of a new liturgical season, the season of the cross. The beautiful thing about the Cross is that there are so many things that can be said about it. However, today I wanted to turn your attention to the typology of the Cross in the Old Testament. Typology of course being the symbolic ways in which aspects of our faith foreshadow or revealed in the scriptures. While none of these particular interpretations of scripture are dogmatic, they have remained popular throughout Christian history as beautiful meditations on God's providential plan leading up to Christ's passion. In fact, some such as the association with the tree of life in Genesis and Revelation are so central to the understanding of Christ's paschal mystery that we would be at such a loss without this symbology. So as you read through St. Theodore the Studite's meditation on the Cross, think of how the Cross in your life calls to mind your life in Christ, and sanctifies your mind and work.

"How precious the gift of the Cross, how splendid to contemplate! In the Cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste. The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light. This tree does not cast us out of Paradise, but opens the way for our return. This was the Tree on which Christ, like a king on a chariot, destroyed the devil, the lord of death, and freed the human race from his tyranny. This was the Tree upon which the Lord, like a brave warrior wounded in hands, feet, and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature. A tree once caused our death, but now a Tree brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled the cunning serpent by a Tree. What an astonishing transformation! That death should become life, that decay should become immortality, that shame should become glory! Well might the holy Apostle exclaim, “Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world!” The supreme wisdom that flowered on the Cross has shown the folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which is the fruit of the Cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness. The wonders accomplished through this Tree were foreshadowed clearly even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past. Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood of a tree that enabled Noah, at God’s command, to escape the destruction of the flood…? And surely the rod of Moses prefigured the Cross when it changed water into blood, swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians, divided the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal course, drowning the enemy and saving God’s own people? Aaron’s rod, which blossomed in one day in proof of his true priesthood, was another figure of the Cross, and did not Abraham foreshadow the Cross when he bound his son Isaac and placed him on the pile of wood? By the Cross death was slain and Adam was restored to life. The Cross is the glory of all the Apostles, the crown of the Martyrs, the sanctification of the Saints. By the Cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self. By the Cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one flock, destined for the sheepfolds of heaven." (Homily on the Precious and Life-Giving Cross)

Rejoice in the Cross, Love the Cross, make its sign over yourself and your children daily. For in it we have been given a great reminder of God's love for each and every one of us.

Share this: