The aromatic herb, basil (Ocimum basilicum) has long been associated with the Holy Cross. Etymologically, it is related to basileios, the Greek word for king. According to a pious legend, the Empress Saint Helena found the location of the True Cross by digging for it under a colony of basil. Basil plants were reputed to have sprung up at the foot of the Cross where fell the Precious Blood of Christ and the tears of the Mother of Sorrows. A sprig of basil was said to have been found growing from the wood of the True Cross. Also, from the practice in some areas of strewing branches of basil before church communion rails, it came to be known as Holy Communion Plant.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who hath made heaven and earth.
Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God,
deign, we beseech Thee, to bless
thy creature, this aromatic basil leaf. +
Even as it delights our senses,
may it recall for us the triumph of Christ, our Crucified King
and the power of His