Friday, September 13, 2013

The Queen and the Cross (Pauline Books and Media)

Pop Quiz! Tomorrow is an important feast in the Universal Church Calendar (Catholic and Orthodox). What is it? (Find the answer at the end of this paragraph.) Throughout the year, the Catholic Church celebrates six great feasts, the Holy Days of Obligation.   Similarly, the Orthodox Church recognizes twelve feasts that have a special place in their Church Calendar. This doesn't include Easter which is the Feast of Feasts. I love that the Orthodox Church recognizes exactly twelve Great Feasts, as twelve is an important Biblical number.  I wish the Catholic Church took a cue from our Orthodox brethren. We designate some important Feasts, including the one tomorrow, as optional in the name of convenience, when we should look forward to the opportunity to celebrate these momentous occasions with out Church family. Ranting aside, did you come up with tomorrow's Feast Day? It's the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. My review today relates to tomorrow's Feast Day.

The Queen and the Cross is a wonderful children's book that tells the story of St. Helen and her quest to find Jesus' cross. For those of you unfamiliar with who St. Helen is, she is the mother of the Emperor Constantine. Constantine is given credit for making Christianity legal in 313 with the Edict of Milan. In this book, one gets a full picture of the finding of the Holy Cross. We see why Helen wanted to find the Cross; her meeting of Macarius, the Bishop of Jerusalem; the finding of three crosses (Jesus' and the two thieves'); and how she determined which cross was THE Cross. You'll have to read the story to find out.

The book starts with a prayer from the Stations of the Cross (Catholic) and ends with a Hymn from the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Orthodox). I appreciate the inclusion of both West and East as parents from both sides will appreciate the message of this book.  I also appreciate that the book mentioned where pieces of the Holy Cross are worldwide, in case you get the urge for a pilgrimage. However, since St. Helen is the patron saint of archaeologists, I wish the book would have addressed some of the other great relics St. Helen found, like the remains of the Magi, but it did not. That is not a dealbreaker for me, though, and I still give this book 5 stars.

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