Desiring to see beforehand the holy scepter of the Cross / borne aloft in the midst of the earth, / let us purify our souls in advance, / and being illumined with light, / let us render our thoughts radiant, / and, shining with divine power let us hymn Christ / Who imparteth His holiness through the precious Tree / unto those who cry out with faith / and fervently hymn Him.
This hymn was sung at the end of the Matins service tonight, on the day before the Exaltation of the Precious Cross. It is fitting that this hymn was sung after 2 1/2 hours of prayer, for it speaks of how we must prepare our souls to encounter the mystery. This is the "synergy" of which we so often speak: it is only through the mystery of the Cross that we are able to purify our souls and be illumined, but it is only when we do so that we can approach and venerate this mystery. It is fitting that this hymn was followed by the following, urging us to place all of our hope in our crucified Lord.
O Christ our God, of Thine own will / Thou hast accepted crucifixion / that all mankind might be restored to life. / Taking the quill of the Cross, / out of love for man in the red ink of royalty / with bloody fingers Thou hast signed our absolution. / We are in danger once again of being parted from Thee; / O forsake us not! / Take pity on Thy people in distress, / for Thou alone art long-suffering. // Rise up and fight against our enemies in Thine almighty power.