Sunday, February 25, 2007

Let us look at Christ pierced by our sins and be looked at by Him, says Pope

Before the start of Lenten exercises, Benedict XVI once again urges the faithful to take part in a Lent of contemplation. By looking straight at Christ’s ribs, we can discover that God is love and understand sin and the “boundless stream” of mercy. The Crucifix is the source from which we can draw the indispensable spiritual energy to build peace and happiness.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A few hours before the start of spiritual exercises in the Vatican, the Pope urged pilgrims in St Peter’s Square to enter “the time of Lent by looking straight at the ribs of Jesus.” In doing so he restated the theme he mentioned in his Lent message titled They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.
In mentioning his encyclical Deus caritas est the Pope stressed the importance of “looking”. He said that it is only by looking at Jesus who died on the Cross that can one know that “God is love”. “In this contemplation,” the Pontiff said, “the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move (Deus caritas est, 12). Contemplating the Crucifix with the eyes of faith, we can deeply understand what sin is, how tragic its gravity is and at the same time how incommensurable is the power of the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy.”
The lance that pierced Christ’s ribs is witnessed in the Gospel of John. “That act carried out by an unknown Roman soldier,” Benedict XVI explained, “bound to be forgotten, was engraved in the eyes and heart of the Apostle who mentioned it in the Gospel. How many conversions have taken place over the centuries because of this eloquent message of love that those who look on the Crucified Jesus receive.”
“In these days of Lent,” the Pope added, “let us not remove our hearts from this mystery of profound humanity and high spirituality. By looking at Christ, let us feel that He is looking at us. The one we have pierced with out sins never tires to pour onto the world a boundless stream of merciful love. May humanity understand that it is only from this source that we can draw the indispensable spiritual energy to build the peace and happiness that each human being endlessly seeks.”
“Let us call on the Virgin Mary,” the Pope said by way of conclusion, “whose soul was pierced near Her Son’s cross, to help gain a firm faith. Guiding us on the Lenten path, may she help us put aside all that distracts us from listening to Christ and his word of salvation.”
And it is in Her the Pope entrusted the spiritual exercises which Card Giacomo Biffi will preach in the Vatican starting today till Saturday morning March 3 with the Pontiff’s and Roman Curia’s participation.
The archbishop emeritus of Bologna Mgr Biffi, a brilliant and wise scholar, will preach on the subject Look for things above, where Christ sits on the right side of God; think about things above, not about those on earth.
“I call on you,” said Benedict XVI, “to accompany us with your prayer, which I gladly shall return by way of meditation, invoking the divine power for each one of us, your families and communities.”

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