Beautiful tree

Daily Reading for April 2 • Good Friday

How precious is the gift of the cross!

See, how beautiful it is to behold!

It shows no sign of evil mixed with good, like the tree of old in Eden;

it is all beautiful and comely to see and to taste.

For it is a tree which brings forth life, not death.

It is the source of light, not darkness.

It offers you a home in Eden.

It does not cast you out.

It is the tree which Christ mounted as a king his chariot,

and so destroyed the devil, the lord of death,

and rescued the human race from slavery to the tyrant.

It is the tree on which the Lord,

like a great warrior with his hands and feet and his divine side pierced in battle,

healed the wounds of our sins,

healed our nature that had been wounded by the evil serpent.

Of old we were poisoned by a tree;

now we have found immortality through a tree.

Of old we were led astray by a tree;

now we have repelled the treacherous snake by means of a tree.

Indeed what an unheard-of exchange!

We are given life instead of death.

A hymn of Theodore the Studite (759-826), quoted in Seeking Life: The Baptismal Invitation of the Rule of St. Benedict by Esther de Waal (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2009).

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