Pope Benedict XVI- Angelus
On the Power of the Cross
"Taking up the Cross Means Committing Oneself to Defeating Sin"
H.H. Benedict XVI
June 20, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
This morning in St. Peter's Basilica I conferred the presbyteral order
on 14 deacons of the Diocese of Rome. The sacrament of Holy Orders
manifests, on God's part, his solicitous nearness to men and, on the
part of him who receives, the complete availability to become the
instrument of this nearness, with a radical love, to Christ and to the
Church. In this Sunday's Gospel, the Lord asks his disciples: "But you,
who do you say that I am?" (Luke 9:20). The Apostle Peter promptly
answers this question: "You are the Christ, the Messiah of God" (Luke
9:20), thus going beyond all the earthly opinions that held Jesus to be
one of the prophets. According to St. Ambrose, with this profession of
faith, Peter "embraced everything together, because he expressed the
nature and the name" of the Messiah (Exp. in Lucam VI, 93, CCL 14, 207).
And Jesus, before this profession of faith, renews to Peter and the
other disciples the invitation to follow him on the demanding road of
love to the cross. To us too, who can know the Lord through faith in his
Word and in the sacraments, Jesus makes the proposal to follow him every
day and also reminds us that to be his disciples it is necessary to
appropriate the power of the cross, the highest of our goods and the
crown of our hope.
St. Maximus the Confessor observes that "the distinct sign of the power
of our Lord Jesus Christ is the cross that he carried on his back" ("Ambiguum"
32, PG91, 1284 C). In fact, "[the Lord] said to everyone: 'If someone
wants to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily
and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Taking up the cross means committing oneself
to defeating sin, which blocks the way to God, accepting the Lord's will
every day, making faith grow above all in the face of problems,
difficulties, suffering. The holy Carmelite Edith Stein testified to
this in a time of persecution. Thus she wrote at the Carmel of Cologne
in 1938: "Today I understand ... what it means to be the bride of Christ
in the sign of the cross, even though I will never completely comprehend
it since it is a mystery ... The more that gloom surrounds us, the more
we must open our heart to the light that comes from on high" ("La scelta
di Dio. Lettere (1917-1942)," Roma 1973, 132-133). Even today there are
many Christians in the world who, animated by God, assume the cross
every day, whether it be daily trials, whether it be that procured by
human barbarity, which sometimes requires the courage of the supreme
sacrifice. May the Lord grant everyone of us always to place our firm
hope in him, certain that, following him carrying our cross, we will
reach the light of the Resurrection with him.
Let us entrust to the maternal care of the Virgin Mary the new priests
ordained today, who join the ranks of those the Lord has called by name:
May they always be faithful disciples, courageous proclaimers of the
Word of God and administrators of the gifts of salvation.
[After the Angelus the Holy Father addressed the faithful in various
languages. In Italian he said:]
I would like to make an urgent appeal that peace and security soon be
reestablished in southern Kyrgyzstan after the grave clashes that have
taken place in recent days. To the families of the victims and those who
suffer because of this tragedy I express my heartfelt nearness and
assurance of my prayers. I invite, furthermore, all the ethnic groups of
the country to renounce all violence or provocation and I ask the
international community to see that humanitarian aid may quickly reach
the stricken populations.
Today the United Nations celebrates World Refugee Day, to recall
attention to the problems of those who have been forced out of their own
land and familiar customs, traveling to environments that, often, are
profoundly different. Refugees desire to find welcome and to be
recognized in their dignity and their fundamental rights; at the same
time they intend to offer their contribution to the society that
welcomes them. Let us pray that, in a just reciprocity, there be a
response adequate to such expectations and they show the respect that
they have for the identity of the community that receives them.
[The Holy Father said in English:]
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this
Angelus prayer. In today's Gospel Jesus calls us to carry our cross in
union with him. May we always give ourselves to him and thus discover
anew the joy that he promises to those who follow him. Upon you and your
loved ones at home, I invoke the blessings of Almighty God.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
at the One they Pierced!
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