How beautiful is the sight of the cross! Its beauty is not a mingling of evil and good, like in former times the tree in the Garden of Eden. It is entirely admirable, “good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” (Gen 3:6) It is a tree that gives life and not death, light and not blindness. It makes people enter Eden and not leave it. This tree upon which Christ went up like a king on his triumphant chariot, has lost the devil who had power over death, and has rescued the human race from enslavement to the tyrant. On this tree, like an elite fighter, the Lord, wounded in his hands, his feet and his divine side, healed the wounds of sin, that is to say, our nature that was wounded by Satan.
After being put to death by means of the wood, we have found life by means of the wood. After being deceived by means of the wood, we have driven back the deceitful serpent by means of the wood. What surprising exchanges! Life instead of death, immortality instead of corruption, glory instead of shame. Rightly did the apostle Paul exclaim: “May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Gal 6:14)… Beyond all wisdom, this wisdom, which blossomed on the cross, rendered stupid the pretences of the wisdom of this world (1 Cor 1:17f.)…
By the cross, death was killed and Adam was returned to life. By the cross, all the apostles were glorified, all the martyrs were crowned, all the saints sanctified. By the cross, we have put on Christ and been stripped of the old man (Eph 4:22). By the cross, we have been brought back as Christ’s sheep and have been gathered together in the sheepfold on high.
Saint Theodore the Studite (759-826), Monk in Constantinople (DailyGospel.org)