[Reliquary of the True Cross, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris]
One of our exorcists has a supposed relic of the true cross in his parish. It does not have any papers of authenticity. Moreover, some people question whether these fragments of wood are really from the cross of Jesus.
It is said that St. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, unearthed three crosses from the believed site where Jesus was crucified at Calvary. In order to determine which one was the true cross, she had the three crosses touched to the body of a woman who was dying of a terminal disease. Only upon touching one of them was she cured. This wood has been venerated as the true cross ever since.
Our exorcist was wondering whether his fragment was authentic. He concealed it in his pocket and brought it into an exorcism session. It was a particularly difficult case with a strong demonic presence. Midway through the session, he stood behind the now manifesting energumen. Standing behind the person, as he reached into his pocket, the demons shouted, "Relic of the true cross!" They writhed and were clearly being tormented. Still behind the afflicted person, he placed the relic on the back of the neck of the afflicted person. Again the demons shouted, "Relic of the true cross!" Again, they writhed in torment.
Demons lie. Were they trying to deceive the exorcist? Perhaps. But there are times when the Lord forces demons to tell the truth. The exorcist believes that this was the case: the Lord insisted the demons witness to his true cross.
There are many relics in our little chapel where exorcisms are performed. The relic of the true cross has a place of honor, as it should. And even if it is not the actual wood from Jesus' cross, it is used in our sessions with faith. We have confidence in the victory of Christ's death and resurrection, and we believe that when we use this relic in faith, the Lord generously imparts a special grace. The witness of the demons gives us additional confidence in its authenticity and its graced power.
[A relic of the True Cross being carried in procession through the Piazza San Marco, Venice. Gentile Bellini, 15th century]