The Cross Over Germany, the Cross on Our Hearts

“I crossed Germany from north to south, from east to west.”

–Pope Benedict XVI, speaking about
his apostolic visit to his homeland


We are a people of hope and a people of symbol.

This was made apparent once again when Pope Benedict XVI, traveling by air during his recent apostolic trip to his homeland, flew from Berlin to Erfurt, from Eichsfeld to Freiburg—thus drawing the Sign of the Cross over the country of Germany.  Amid the flurry of state visits, papal processions and encounters with abuse victims, the Pope had thoughtfully overlaid this symbol of grace and faith.

The imagery of Pope Benedict’s large-scale aerial blessing was largely overlooked, as news reports focused instead on his messages to Jewish rabbis, Muslim leaders, and victims of clergy sexual abuse.  It was the Pope himself who called attention to this significant detail in the planning.

The Sign of the Cross—drawn with the Pope’s hand and with his airplane—had marked Germany for Jesus.

Read more about the Sign of the Cross, about its use in the earliest days of the Church, and about what the Catechism teaches about this ancient prayer, in my post at the Patheos website.

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