Benedict XVI Says Love Defines Man's Journey

Affirms Christ’s Cross Is Key to Success and Peace

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is affirming that love, a true gift of self as exemplified in the Cross of Jesus, gives meaning to life, and that its absence brings emptiness and boredom.

The Pope said this in a homily this morning at the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square. He blessed palm and olive branches and presided over the liturgical celebration.

The Pontiff explained that Jesus, the King who entered Jerusalem in a triumphal procession, comes to introduce a new type of kingdom.

This kingdom, he said, «passes through the cross.» He added, «Because Jesus gives himself totally, he can as the Risen One belong to everyone and make himself present to all.»

The Holy Father noted that Christ’s kingdom is also «universal» and «knows no more borders.»

This is possible, he said, «because it is not a political kingdom, but is based solely on the free adhesion of love — a love that, for its part, answers to the love of Jesus Christ that has given itself for all.»

He continued: «Universality includes the mystery of the cross — the overcoming of ourselves, obedience toward the universal word of Jesus Christ in the universal Church.

«Universality is always an overcoming of ourselves, a renunciation of something that is ours. Universality and the cross go together. Only in this way can peace be created.»


Benedict XVI affirmed: «He who wants to have his life for himself, live only for himself, squeeze out everything for himself and exploit all the possibilities — he is the one who loses his life.

«It becomes boring and empty. Only in abandoning ourselves, only in the disinterested gift of the ‘I’ in favor of the ‘Thou,’ only in the ‘Yes’ to the greater life, precisely the life of God, our life too becomes full and more spacious.»

He added: «Love, in fact, means leaving yourself behind, giving yourself, not wanting to hold on to yourself, but becoming free from yourself: not getting preoccupied with yourself — what will become of me — but looking ahead, toward the other — toward God and the people whom he sends to me.

«It is this principle of love that defines man’s journey, it is once again identical with the mystery of the cross, with the mystery of death and resurrection that we encounter in Christ.»

The Pope emphasized that this «Yes» to the Lord must be repeated every day, especially when «we just want to hang on to that ‘I.'» He added, «There is no successful life without sacrifice.»

Real prayer

Though it is difficult, he affirmed, we can pray like Jesus, who «felt driven to ask that he be spared the terror of the passion.»

The Pontiff continued: «Before God we must not take refuge in pious phrases, in a world of make-believe. Praying also means struggling with God.»

«In the end,» he said, «God’s glory, his lordship, his will is always more important and more true than my thoughts and my will.»

The Holy Father added: «And this is what is essential in our prayer and in our life: understanding this right order of reality, accepting it interiorly; trusting in God and believing that he is doing the right thing; understanding that his will is the truth and is love; understanding that my life will be a good life if I can learn how to conform to this order.

«The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the guarantee that we can truly entrust ourselves to God. It is in this way that his kingdom is realized.»

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