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In 312, Constantine the Great set out on a campaign against his rival Maxentius. Before the meeting near the Milvian Bridge, on the outskirts of Rome, he and his army saw a luminous cross in the sky with these words: “In hoc signo vinces! – It is by this sign that you will overcome.” He had this symbol put on his standards and won the victory. It is to this event that tradition dates the institution of banners for the churches.
We, too, would become victorious against our enemies, if in danger we provided ourselves with the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross is a source of blessing.
The cross of Christ and the instruments of the Passion had been buried by the Jews on Calvary, and Helen, mother of the great Constantine, conceived the project of searching for these precious relics. Although she was already 80 years old, she went to Jerusalem and tried to obtain some information from the Jews, but they refused to give any information about the place of the crucifixion until they were threatened with the most severe penalties. The excavations she had carried out led to the discovery of three crosses, with nails and the board on which there were still remains of the inscription ordered by Pilate. St. Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, advised the empress to have a seriously ill woman touched by the crosses, hoping that God would reveal the true Cross through her healing. A sick woman was taken to Calvary, and as soon as she touched the true Cross, she was instantly restored to health. It is in memory of this miracle that the Church instituted the feast of the Invention of the Cross on May 3.
The sign of the cross gives us the same benefits as the touching of the wood of the cross.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.
My Jesus, forgiveness and mercy!
By the merits of Thy holy Wounds and the sorrows of Thy Mother.