15. MORE SOLEMN BLESSING OF A CROSS

At hand are a thurible and holy water. The priest, vested in surplice red stole and cope, says:

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, bless + this cross by which you snatched the world from Satan’s grasp, and overcame by your suffering the tempter to sin, who rejoiced in the first man’s fall in eating of the forbidden tree. We ask this of you who live and reign with God the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

All: Amen.
Let us pray.

Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, be pleased, we beg you, to bless + this cross, so that it may be a saving help to mankind. Let it be the support of faith, an encouragement to good works, the redemption of souls; and let it be consolation, protection, and a shield against the cruel darts of the enemy; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Then with hands outstretched before his breast he says the following preface in a moderately loud voice:

P: Forever and ever.

All: Amen.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

P: Lift up your hearts.

All: We have lifted them up to the Lord.

P: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All: It is fitting and right to do so.

It is indeed fitting and right, worthy and salutary that we should always and everywhere give thanks to you, O holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God; for among your visible creatures even fruitful trees never cease to praise and bless your holy and awesome name. In figure of your only-begotten Wisdom you beautified in the beginning the Garden of Eden with the tree of life, and by its fruit, as by a holy sign, you admonished our first parents to beware of death and to seek everlasting life. Condemned as we were to a just death by the touch of the forbidden tree, you mercifully recalled us from death to life by the selfsame co-eternal Wisdom, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Therefore, we your suppliants pray that you may hallow with a blessing + from on high this singular sign, wrought and raised up for the faithful’s devotion in remembrance of that first holy standard on which you conquered by the precious blood of your Son. May all who kneel before it, imploring your sovereignty, experience true compunction and obtain forgiveness of their transgressions; and by the merits of the victorious suffering and death of your only-begotten Son may they seek only what pleases you, and speedily obtain what they request. Grant, we pray, O most loving Father in whom we live, and move, and have our being, that as often as we gaze upon and call to mind the triumphant sign of your divine humility, which crushed the pride of our foe, we may be filled with hope and be strengthened against the wiles of that same foe, and receive greater grace to live humbly and devoutly in your sight. And on that dreadful judgment day, when you will appear in majesty, when the elements shall quake and the powers of heaven be moved, and this glorified sign of our redemption shall appear in the heavens, may we pass from death to life, and deserve to see the everlasting joys of a blessed resurrection. What follows is said in a subdued tone, loud enough, however, to be heard by the bystanders: Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.
Let us pray.

God, who by the gibbet of the holy cross, a onetime instrument of punishment for criminals, restored life to the redeemed, grant that your faithful people may find in it a strong support, who see in it their standard of battle. Let the cross be for them a foundation of faith, a pillar of hope, a safeguard in adversity, an aid in prosperity; let it be victory amid enemies, a guard in cities, a shield in the country, a prop in their homes. By it may the Good Shepherd keep His flock unharmed, for on it did the Lamb + who has conquered win our salvation; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Then incense in a boat is brought before the priest, who blesses it saying:

Let us pray.

Lord God almighty, before whom the host of angels stands in awe, and renders you a spiritual service glowing with love, be pleased to look with favor on this creature, incense, to bless + and to hallow + it. May all weakness, all infirmity, and all assaults of the enemy, sensing its fragrance, flee and be kept far from your creature, man, that he, whom you redeemed by the precious blood of your Son, may never again suffer from the sting of the ancient serpent; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

After this the priest puts incense into the thurible, and then sprinkles the cross with holy water and incenses it.

If the cross is made of wood he adds the prayer indicated by 1; if of metal or stone, the prayer indicated by 2:

(1): May this wood be sanctified, in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, + and of the Holy + Spirit. And may the blessing of this wood, on which were hung the sacred members of our Savior, remain ever in it, so that all who kneel in prayer before this cross in God’s honor may have health in body and soul; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Then the priest, kneeling before the cross, devoutly venerates it and kisses it, and others who wish may do likewise.

(2): God of glory, God of hosts, the mighty Emmanuel, God, Father of truth, Father of wisdom, Father of holiness. Father, you enlighten us and keep watch over us. You rule the world and reign over all kingdoms. You are the giver of all grace and the dispenser of all gifts. All nations, peoples, tribes, and tongues serve you. All legions of angels minister before you. You bestow on your servants the power to believe and to praise your name, enabling them to offer due worship to you. You desire first of all faith in those who offer sacrifice to you, even before the gift is sacrificed. We appeal, then, to your tender-hearted mercy, asking that you hallow + and consecrate + this cross made by your servants in a spirit of total faith and devotion, to serve as a reminder of your victory and our redemption, a victorious and glorious sign of Christ’s love. Behold this unconquerable sign of the cross by which diabolical power was destroyed and human liberty restored, which once was a symbol of shame, but now by your grace has been turned into a symbol of honor; which once punished the guilty with death, but now absolves criminals from their debt. And how can it please you, except that by it you were pleased to redeem us? And now no gift can any longer give you due honor except that which onetime had the sacred body nailed to it; nor can any offering please you more than that which onetime was made holy by your arms outstretched on it. Therefore, accept this cross with those hands that once embraced the first cross, and by the holiness of that cross make holy + this one. And as the world’s guilt was expiated by that cross, so may your servants merit deliverance from sin by this one, as they honor it in praise of you. Under the protection of the true cross may they advance step by step as victors. Here on the cross may the splendor of your only-begotten Son, our Lord, sparkle in the gold of your glance; may the renown of His death on the wood shine out; may our redemption from death, the purification of our life, be reflected in the effulgent crystal of the cross. Let the cross be a safeguard and assurance to its followers; let it unite them in faith with the people of all nations, bringing them together in peace and in hope, advancing them in victories, increasing their good fortunes, helping them for all time to advance toward everlasting life, thus assuring their happiness in this life, and leading them by its mighty power to the glory of the heavenly kingdom. May you grant this by the appeasing blood of your Son, by Him who is the giver of all gifts, who gave Himself for the redemption of many, who offered Himself as a holocaust for sin, who in being exalted on the wood of the cross humbled the principalities and powers, who with you, in the undivided unity of the Holy Spirit, sits on the heavenly throne forevermore.

All: Amen.

Then the priest, kneeling before the cross, devoutly venerates and kisses it, and others who wish may do likewise.