Today is the Apodosis of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, when we say farewell to this celebration for one more year.
REJOICE! O life-bearing Cross,
Unvanquished trophy of true religion,
Door of Paradise,
Firmness of the faithful,
Rampart of the Church.
Through thee corruption is blotted out,
The power of death emptied and swallowed up,
And we have been lifted up from earth to heaven.
My champion against the demons,
Glory of the hallowed martyrs,
(For adornment thou truly art),
Harbour of salvation,
Which unto the world givest the Great Mercy.
“The Dream of the Rood” – an old English word for the Cross – is an Anglo-Saxon poem in alliterative verse attributed to Caedmon (7th century) or Cynewulf (8th century).
It takes the form of a vision of the Cross, during which, as if a living thing, the Cross tells its own bitter-sweet tale.
In the final lines, the man who dreamt the Dream reflects on the meaning of the Cross for him.
I’VE not many mighty
Of friends on earth; but hence went they forth
From joys of the world, sought glory’s King;
Now live they in Heaven with the Father on high,
In glory dwell, and I hope for myself
On every day when the rood of the Lord,
Which here on earth before I viewed,
In this vain life, may fetch me away
And bring me then, where bliss is mickle,*
Joy in the Heavens, where the folk of the Lord
Is set at the feast, where bliss is eternal;
And may He then set me where I may hereafter
In glory dwell, and well with the saints
Of joy partake. May the Lord be my friend,
Who here on earth suffered before
On the gallows-tree for the sins of man!
He us redeemed, and gave to us life,
A heavenly home. Hope was renewed,
With blessing and bliss, for the sufferers of burning.
The Son was victorious on that fateful journey,
Mighty and happy, when He came with a many,
With a band of spirits to the kingdom of God,
The Ruler Almighty, for joy to the angels
And to all the saints, who in Heaven before
In glory dwelt, when their Ruler came,
Almighty God, where was His home.
* Mickle = much, great.
I ARISE today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom. […]
I ARISE today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
CHRIST to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
From St Patrick’s “Breastplate” (5th-8th century), a morning prayer.