United at the Cross
The good Sir Bors, one of the knights on the quest to behold the mysteries of the Holy Grail, enters a strange chapel with someone in the guise of a monk. Sir Bors has asked him for advice on two dreams he has had, which he does not know how to interpret. But when he looks around, he does not see the Cross. And sure enough, the monk gives a lying interpretation of the dreams—accusing Bors of pride in his chastity, and urging that he "serve" a beautiful lady who is dying for love of him. It is an interpretation that buries the Cross.
We in our time bury the Cross, too. We say that Jesus does not want us to suffer, though he himself has said that we must take up the Cross and follow him. I've been in churches where nary a Cross is to be seen. For many years, Catholic churches in the United States, embarrassed by the Crucified, preferred representations of the risen Christ. "We are an Easter people," they said, but there is no Easter without Good Friday. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.
We do well, then, to recall the pilgrimage of St. Helen, the mother of Constantine, who traveled to Jerusalem to unearth the Cross of Jesus. Her discovery has been memorialized in the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on September 14. The Cross is the Tree of Life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations—and for our healing, too. Christians may not be one in the journals of theology, but we should all gather beneath the Cross, and if we do not do so on our own, our enemies may do the favor for us.
THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:
Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
more on hymns from the online archives
calling all readers
"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand
"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor
• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!
Transactions will be processed on a secure server.
Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.
OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)
Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.
more from the online archives