Cross Helps Us Understand God's Love, Says Preacher

Meditation on 2nd Full Day of Retreat at the Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2004 ( To know God and to understand his love it is necessary to kneel before the cross, says the preacher of the retreat John Paul II is listening to this week.

«On the Way Toward the Cross» was the theme of the meditations that Monsignor Bruno Forte offered today, the second full day of the Spiritual Exercises being attended by the Pope and officials of the Roman Curia.

The cross is «the place where God speaks in silence, illuminating the darkness of our hearts, thirsty for him,» the president of the School of Theology of Southern Italy said in one of the passages heard on Vatican Radio.

Jesus’ whole life is oriented toward the cross. «If we want to know who God is, we must kneel at the foot of the cross,» the preacher said.

The cross is the key to understand the Gospel, seeing how each one of its passages is as an introduction to understand that mystery, said the priest, who is leading the meditations in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel.

On Monday afternoon, Monsignor Forte meditated on the Gospel parable of the prodigal son, which he said presents a humble, courageous, maternal God.

«Who are we before this God?» he asked. «The youngest son, who took everything and left home and went to a land where he dissipated everything.»

«The prodigal son’s return home represents the extraordinary moment of conversion,» which requires an understanding of one’s «alienation» caused by sin, as well as «the recognition of the love of God,» Monsignor Forte said.

Conversion is the awareness of the tragedy of having gone away from Jesus and recognition of the way that leads back to the Lord, the preacher concluded.

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