On this day, the Church offers the precious cross for the faithful to venerate, as it is from the cross of Christ that our salvation begins. Sin died there, death died there. But the cross does not stand alone, for the resurrection follows. However, in order for the Lord to reach the resurrection, he had to pass through the cross, to pass through the repercussions of sin, which is death. The Lord resurrected and abolished both death and sin. And it is for this reason that whoever believes in Christ, becomes Christ, and sin –this overwhelming matter –is set in order. And there is no other way for man’s sin be set straight apart from this. But to say ‘I believe in Christ’ means: I give my life, my soul, my very being to Christ. I belong to Christ, I am joined to him.
Certainly, by carrying out a struggle, you exert yourself with particular efforts. And yet again, sin remains. Why? Because you attempt to tidy up your soul all on your own. When, however, you struggle –you cut off your will, and do whatever you can against your sins and passions– but within Christ, with faith in Christ, joined to and loving Christ, it is then that you are saved.
Along with the cross there are always flowers. The cross is not plain –it is not joyless, but has a sweetness –a sweetness exceedingly gladdening. As much as someone doesn’t want to be distressed, doesn’t want to hurt, or to be crucified, this is how unhappy he is. In proportion to how much one is crucified –how crucified –how much he hurts, and is distressed over sin– to that same degree will grace flow; he is saved, he is freed, and rejoices. These things go together.
Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos