One of my favorite antiphons of the Divine Office states, “See how the Cross of Christ stands revealed as the Tree of Life.” For me, it brings to mind the Roman Basilica of San Clemente which has been under the custody of the Irish Dominicans since the seventeenth century, though the church building is much older. The apse of the church is decorated by a great Byzantine style mosaic, representative of 12th century Rome, on the theme of the Triumph of the Cross. The work’s image of the Crucified One is the oldest existing depiction of a lifeless Christ. Yet, from the Cross springs forth many spiraling tendrils providing food for the soul and a place of roosting for the Christian flock.
In the Christian East, it is said that a disciple cannot look upon an image of the Cross without faith and hope in the Exaltation of the Cross. Their beloved Byzantine troparion expresses this well: “Christ is Risen from the dead, by death conquering death and to those in the tombs granting life!” This short, one stanza hymn relates how from the Cross life is given to those dead in the body, as well as in sin. Just as Christ by his death conquers death, our Lenten preparation for the paschal feast conquers despair and sinfulness within us.
This Easter, the friars and staff at the Shrine of St. Jude wish to assure you of our heartfelt prayers. We encourage you to take part in the Easter novena of Masses, as well as the intercessory prayers offered here at the Shrine on behalf of you and your loved ones. The Holy Mass and prayer are two of the most powerful signs of hope in the life of grace and blessings.
St. Jude, pray for us, and for all who honor and invoke thy name!
Very Rev. Vincent M. Kelber, O.P.