The Cross is the sign of God’s infinite love for us
Today the Pope reminded faithful of the Christians who are being persecuted and killed all around the world for their faith in Christ. He also spared a thought for victims of discrimination
On the day the Church exalts the Holy Cross, Pope Francis recalled the true meaning of the cross: that is, hope. He expressed his wholehearted support and solidarity to Christians who suffer discrimination and persecution, even in countries where religious freedom is supposedly officially guaranteed.
The Cross is the sign of God’s infinite love for us. “Through the Cross of Christ the evil one is overcome death is defeated, we are gifted life, hope is restored,” Francis said. “This is important: Through the Cross of Christ hope is restored. The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! That is why the Church "exalts" the Holy Cross, which is why we Christians bless ourselves with the sign of the cross. That is, we don’t exalt crosses but THE glorious Cross of Christ, a sign of God’s love, our salvation and journey towards the resurrection.”
“This is our hope,” he went on to say. “While we contemplate and celebrate the Holy Cross, we think emotionally of so many of our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith in Christ. This happens especially there where religious freedom is still not guaranteed or fully realized. It happens, however, even in well-to-do countries which, in principle, protect freedom and human rights, but where in practice believers, and especially Christians, encounter restrictions and discrimination. So today we remember them and pray especially for them.”
Violence and war were the focus of the second half of today’s Angelus prayer. Pope Francis recalled that tomorrow, a UN peacekeeping mission begins in the Central African Republic, to restore normality in a country that is being torn apart by civil war. “The civilian population … is seriously suffering the consequences of the ongoing conflict,” Francis said. “While I assure the commitment and prayer of the Catholic Church, I encourage the efforts of the international community, which is coming to the aid of the Central Africans of good will. May violence give way to dialogue.”
The Pope went on to speak about yesterday’s visit to Redipuglia to the Austrian-Hungarian cemetery and the Military Shrine. “The numbers are shocking, they speak of over 8 million young soldiers who fell and an estimated 7 million civilians. This makes us understand that war is madness, and humanity has yet to learn the lessons from this madness! Because after this war, there was another world war and so many more still going on today. But when will we learn? When will we learn this lesson? I invite everyone to look at the Crucified Christ to understand that hate and evil are defeated by forgiveness and good, to understand that the response of war only increases evil and death!”
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