Holy Cross Day
A Symbol of Shame Becomes a Symbol of Triumph
The early Christians recognized one another by the sign of the fish.
The cross, the symbol of Jesus' humiliating death, was not used by the people who knew him on earth; it brought their personal loss of their beloved teacher too close to their hearts.
Jesus had promised that he would make those people, who caught fish for a living, fishers of men, by telling all people about the wonders of God the father and his son, Jesus.
Nearly 300 years after Jesus died on the cross, Constantine, the emperor of Rome, saw a vision in which he would win the battle at hand if he fought under the sign of the chi-rho, a symbol made of the Greek letters chi (English ch) and rho (English r), which are the two first letters in the Greek spelling of Christ.
Constantine raised a banner which carried the chi-rho and painted the symbol on the shields of his soldiers - he won the battle and many battles that followed.
After that time, the simple crossbars of the Roman cross became widely used by Christians to show that their lives were transformed by Jesus' sacrifice and death for them.
Modern Christians use the cross to celebrate the love of Jesus that was so great that any personal sacrifice of his was too small, as a symbol of a love that is so large no one can begin to understand it.
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