Feel Deeply the Salvation of the Mystery of the Cross

Be human already!

Christ became man for you, died for you, feel this, know this. This is Pope Francis’s full message of peace to the world.

Pope Benedict knew he couldn’t plead like whoever the Holy Spirit had in mind to be our Holy Father in this hour.

And, goodness, can Pope Francis plead.

He went out to St. Peter’s Square famously in prayer, and then begging us to ask God for His mercy. This message of Divine Mercy was his first Angelus reflection. Never tired of asking. He never tires of forgiving. In this is our healing by the Divine Physician.

And as we surrender to Him, if we even begin to live in union with Him, drawn into the very life of the Trinity, we will weep. We will weep for the indifference, we will weep for the sacrilege, we will weep for our brothers and sisters who seem unreachable by mere human love and service. We will weep and it will purify us. We will know that in the cross is our life, the Way to be who we are meant to be.

In celebrating the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, Pope Francis says: In the Cross, there is “the story of God …. “:

“He has chosen to take up our story and to journey with us,” becoming man, assuming the condition of a slave and making Himself obedient even to death on a Cross: “God takes this course for love! There’s no other explanation: love alone does this. Today we look upon the Cross, the story of mankind and the story of God. We look upon this Cross, where you can try that honey of aloe, that bitter honey, that bitter sweetness of the sacrifice of Jesus. But this mystery is so great, and we cannot by ourselves look well upon this mystery, not so much to understand – yes, to understand – but to feel deeply the salvation of this mystery. First of all the mystery of the Cross. It can only be understood, a little bit, by kneeling, in prayer, but also through tears: they are the tears that bring us close to this mystery.”

(More from the Vatican radio translation here.)

I love that so many find Pope Francis “awesome,” as one MSNBC host put it a few nights ago. But are we listening? In Lampedusa. In Rio. He’s calling us to radical conversion as he holds open the door. As he welcomes, he also challenges us. If we say we are Christian, be Christian already! Follow Christ and embrace his Cross! Long for the cross.

This is from Pope Francis on Copacabana beach, his meditation during the Way of the Cross service:

the Cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness, especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action; the Cross invites us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them. How many times have we seen them in the Way of the Cross, how many times have they accompanied Jesus on the way to Calvary: Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Mary, the women… Today I ask you: which of them do you want to be? Do you want to be like Pilate, who did not have the courage to go against the tide to save Jesus’ life, and instead washed his hands? Tell me: are you one of those who wash their hands, who feign ignorance and look the other way? Or are you like Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus to carry that heavy wood, or like Mary and the other women, who were not afraid to accompany Jesus all the way to the end, with love and tenderness? And you, who do you want to be? Like Pilate? Like Simon? Like Mary? Jesus is looking at you now and is asking you: do you want to help me carry the Cross? Brothers and sisters, with all the strength of your youth, how will you respond to him?

Have we wept today? Have we gazed at the Cross? Have we lived in full knowledge of his Presence? We can choose this moment to do so. There’s no better offer.

  • George Albinson

    “Pope Benedict knew he couldn’t plead like whoever the Holy Spirit had in mind to be our Holy Father in this hour.”

    I have tried several times to parse this sentence, without result. Please get an editor.

    • fredx2

      It means Pope Benedict knew he did not have the public, on-the-stage sort of persona that would allow him to plead in public with great drama and emphasis. Yes, sometimes bloggers write in haste and do so imperfectly. But a better course would be to just ask what they meant by it.

      • George Albinson

        Persona? The apostolic journeys (esp Britain) of Benedict XVI were unsurpassed in their impact. The Vatican’s own statistics indicate that the general audience attendances for Benedict were considerably larger that those of John Paul II. Surely both John Paul and Francis would humbly recognize that and thank God for it. But given the prolixity of John Paul II and the opaqueness of Francis, Benedict will be remembered by history as a breath of fresh air and the last century’s greatest doctor of the Church.

  • mary370

    Some of us still want to plead with Benedict, we can’t listen, don’t want to and are just plan disillusioned. Going to the periphery means leaving some sheep behind.

    • Gordis85

      And Benedict is completely happy pleading before the Lord in silence, at the foot of the Cross, where he longed to be for so very long…away from the public eye. Now, we are gifted with Papa Francis who was private in his life before he became Pope. He did things without any fanfare and now that he is Pope, and the whole world is watching, he will do what he can to show us the way. Not his fault many are watching and closely too.

      If any sheep are left behind well, it was their choice since I am sure Papa Francis, like the good Lord Himself, will only propose but never impose.

      • mary370

        K-Lo asked “but are we listening”. My remark wasn’t meant to be anti-Francis in anyway, just a statement of reality for some who cannot listen because their grief is still profound. I suppose it is easy to say move on but if you love, it is hard. The statement about leaving sheep behind was written in sadness because some cannot listen.


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