The first time I saw the veneration of the cross at Taize I was puzzled watching the faithful come forward and rest their heads on the wood, which was laid flat on the ground. However when my turn came to do it, I found it a very powerful experience. To prostrate oneself is a humble act. To feel the wood for the cross against your forehead for an extended period allows the reality of what Christ did there penetrate in new ways.
This summer I sat and watched as thousands of young people lined up to pay respect to the cross at Taize. I heard that people waited over three hours to rest their heads and send their prayers to heaven that night. It was well after midnight before the last person was done.
What is the draw and why should anyone exult in an execution tool? The cross is a symbol of the death of Christ but more importantly it is a sign of victory–over death and suffering. Ultimately the cross is a symbol of resurrection and hope. The cross shows how much God loves us and the extreme to which God is prepared to fight for us. On this Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, we hear how Christ humbled himself for our sake and are reminded that God so loved the world that the Son of God was sent to save us.
Venerating the Holy Cross is a beautiful and humble act. When was the last time you did it?