Sign of Cross Is a Visible "Yes" to Christ, Says Pope

Reflects on Upcoming Liturgical Feast

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 11, 2005 ( The sign of the cross should not be a routine gesture, but the pronouncement of a visible “yes” to the love of Christ who died for us, says Benedict XVI.

Before praying the midday Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered today at the papal summer residence south of Rome, the Pope reflected on the significance of the liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated Sept. 14.

In this Year of the Eucharist, the Holy Father invited the faithful to meditate “on the profound and indissoluble bond that unites the Eucharistic celebration with the mystery of the cross.”

“Each holy Mass, in fact, actualizes Christ’s redeeming sacrifice,” Benedict XVI said. “The Eucharist is therefore the memorial of the whole paschal mystery: passion, death, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension to heaven, and the cross is the tangible manifestation of the infinite act of love with which the Son of God has saved man and the world from sin and death.”

Thus, the sign of the cross is the “fundamental gesture of the Christian’s prayer,” the Pope added.

“To make the sign of the cross is to pronounce a visible and public yes to him who died for us and who is risen, to the God who in the humility and weakness of his love is omnipotent, stronger than all the power and intelligence of the world,” the Bishop of Rome said.

Marian appeal

The cross, he continued to underline, “is not a passing incident, but the passage through which Christ entered into his glory and reconciled the whole of humanity, overcoming all enmity.”

For this reason, together with the liturgy, the Pope exhorted believers to raise this supplication: “Stay with us, Lord, who by your holy cross have redeemed the world!”

Benedict XVI dedicated the last words of his meditation to the Blessed Virgin Mary: “When we receive holy Communion we also, as Mary and united to her, embrace the wood, which Jesus with his love has transformed into instrument of salvation, and pronounce our ‘Amen,’ our ‘yes’ to crucified and risen love.”

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