Cross Is Sign of Love's Victory, Says Pope

Comments on Christ's Crucifixion

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The crucifixion is for Christians a reminder that love overcomes all hatred and violence, says Benedict XVI.



The Holy Father said this today in a commentary he made on two feasts which the Church celebrated last week: the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Sept. 14, and Our Lady of Sorrows, Sept. 15.

"These two liturgical celebrations summarize in a visual manner the image of the crucifixion, which represents the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross, according to the description of the Evangelist John, the only apostle who stayed with Jesus at the hour of his death."

"But, what does it mean to 'exalt' the cross? Is it not, perhaps, scandalous to venerate an offensive gibbet?" the Bishop of Rome asked those who had gathered to pray the Angelus in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.

Christians, the Pontiff said, "do not exalt any cross, but that cross which Jesus sanctified with his sacrifice, fruit and testimony of immense love."

Benedict XVI continued: "Christ, on the cross, shed his blood to free humanity from the slavery of sin and death.

"For this reason, the cross was transformed from a sign of malediction to a sign of blessing, from a symbol of death to a symbol par excellence of the love that is able to overcome hatred and violence and that generates immortal life."

Sorrowful mother

Near the cross of Christ, the Pope said to the crowds who had gathered in the rain, was Mary: "Her sorrow is one with that of her son. It is a sorrow full of faith and love.

"On Calvary the Virgin participated in the salvific power of Christ's sorrow, uniting her 'fiat' with that of her son."

The Holy Father added: "Spiritually united to Our Lady of Sorrows, let us also renew our 'yes' to God, who chose the way of the cross to save us."

"It is a great mystery which still takes place until the end of the world and that also calls for our cooperation. May Mary help us to pick up our cross every day and to follow Jesus on the path of obedience, sacrifice and love."