OF THE SIGN OF THE HOLY CROSS MADE AT “IN NOMINE PATRIS,” AND OF THE MOST EXCELLENT VIRTUES AND MOST DIVINE MYSTERIES CONTAINED IN THE SAME. BY JOHN HEIGHAM, 1622

Transcribed by E.T.H. III from A Devout Exposition of the Holy Mass, with an Ample Declaration of all the Rites and Ceremonies Belonging to the Same. Composed by John Heigham, the more to move all Godly People to the Greater Veneration of So Sublime a Sacrament. The Second Edition, reviewed and augmented by the Author. 1622. Edited by Austin Joseph Rowley, Priest. London. 1876.

1. As the glory of a fair and sumptuous building is viewed and perceived by the forefront thereof, and as the honour of a well-ordered army is discovered in the comely disposition of the foreward of the battle, even so, gentle reader, mayst thou easily conjecture the excellency of this spiritual building, by the only beauty which thou beholdest in the forefront of the same.

2. And what else may be expected in this venerable representation of the Death and Passion of our Saviour Jesus, but that our Holy Mother, the Catholic Church, should first plant in the forefront of this excellent Sacrifice, the triumphant banner and most victorious standard of the Cross, the badge and livery of her Celestial Spouse, the ensign of heaven, the consolation of earth, the confusion of hell, and the royal arms and cognizance of our Redemption?

3. For this holy sign is the tree of life planted in the midst of Paradise. It is the wood of the ark which saved Noe and his family from drowning. It is the banner which Abraham bore, when he went to deliver his brother Lot from the captivity of his enemies. It is the wood which Isaac his son carried upon his shoulders to the place of sacrifice. It is the ladder whereon Jacob saw the Angels descend and ascend up to heaven. It is the key of Paradise, which openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth. It is the brazen serpent which healeth those that are stricken with the venomous sting of the devil. It is the rod of Moses wherewith he caused the stony rock to yield forth streams of refreshing waters. It is the wood which, being cast by our true Eliseus into the waters that were bitter; made them most sweet and pleasant of taste. It is the stone wherewith David struck Goliath on the forehead and presently slew him. And it is the letter Thau marked on the foreheads of all the faithful, which keepeth them and preserveth them from all kind of danger.

4. In a word, no mortal tongue is able sufficiently to express the wonderful virtues of this sign; for it is the staff of the lame, the guide of the blind, the way of them that err, the philosophy of the unlearned, the physician of the sick, and the resurrection of the dead. It is the comfort of the poor, hope in despair, harbour in danger, the blessing of families, the father of orphans, the defence of widows, the judge of innocents, the keeper of little ones, the guard of virginity, the counsellor of the just, the liberty of servants, the bread of the hungry, and the drink of the thirsty. It is the song of the Prophets, the preaching of the Apostles, the glory of Martyrs, the consolation of Confessors, the joy of Priests, and the shield of Princes. It is the foundation of the Church, the benediction of Sacraments, the subversion of idolatry, the death of heresy, the destruction of the proud, the bridle of the rich, the punishment of the wicked, the torment of the damned, and the glory of the saved. No marvel, then, that the Catholic Church hath so highly honoured this heavenly sign, as to plant it and seat it in the forefront of this holy Sacrifice, and to adorn and beautify therewith this heavenly building, using, as I may call it, no other key but that which once opened unto us so high a mystery, to open unto us now again the highest mystery both of heaven and earth.

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1 Comment

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One response to “OF THE SIGN OF THE HOLY CROSS MADE AT “IN NOMINE PATRIS,” AND OF THE MOST EXCELLENT VIRTUES AND MOST DIVINE MYSTERIES CONTAINED IN THE SAME. BY JOHN HEIGHAM, 1622

  1. frank USA New Jersey

    What a beautiful poem. I am going to put music to this and then I’ll e-mail a copy to you. Thank you for the site.

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