Today's Feast: Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14)
Through the cross Our Lord won salvation for all who are His. Therefore, although a heinous instrument of torture, the cross is also a symbol of Christ's victory over death.
Recognizing this fact, the Church has, since the fourth century, set aside a feast day on which to celebrate Our Lord taking "captivity captive" through His death on the cross.
Like the cross, life can be a paradox when one attempts to live out the Christian faith. The cross, which Jesus commands us to "take up" and follow Him, is the means through which we learn to love God and our neighbor. Through it we are made stronger spiritually, and no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in, all things can be offered up for His greater glory.
"But as for us, it behoveth us to glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: in whom is our salvation, our life and resurrection: by whom we were saved and obtained our freedom" (Gal. 6). (Part of the day's introit, page E 112, The People's Anglican Missal).
Books Worth Considering
A History of the Church in England
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference)
The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin)