Rejoice, life-giving Cross of the Lord,from the Vespers Aposticha of September 14, HTM translation
Thou never-conquered battle trophy of piety,
Support and staff of the faithful,
The wall surrounding the Church
And the door that leadeth unto Paradise;
Through Thee hath corruption been made to vanish and be no more,
Death’s mighty power hath been vanquished and swallowed up,
And we have been raised from earth to celestial things.
O truceless foe of demons, and our weapon invincible
Thou art the glory of martyrs and true adornment of all the Saints,
Calm port of salvation,
That which granteth the great mercy of God unto the world!
There was once a time when I thought that praying to the Cross was extremely weird. And on some level, I suppose I think it still is.
However, I also do not think it is possible to understand the power of the Cross, the meaning of the Cross, and even the Cross itself without praying to it.
The early Christian martyrs (and the early Christians generally) had a much different relationship with the Cross than we do now (at least in my estimation). The Cross was the gate to Paradise — first because the Cross mediated the death of the God-man Christ and thus made possible the Resurrection, and second because it is by imitating the Cross and embracing the sufferings of martyrdom that they themselves gained Paradise. The Cross has active power and grace. The Cross is the key and the ladder to Paradise.
If it doesn’t make sense to pray to the Cross, I encourage you to try, and to stick with it for a while. The hymn above is a good place to start; the two that follow it in the service are also addressed to the Cross. It is what I prayed when I thought the entire expedition and effort was stupid, and it totally transformed how I see the Cross.
Blessed feast day, friends! Through the intercessions of the Cross, may God grant us the strength to do our homework, go to our medical checkups, clean the kitchen, stand up to tyrants, defeat idols, and be kind to all people, Amen.