by Pope John Paul II.
During this Lenten season, it is the Resurrection towards which we are heading, the Resurrection that reveals the true value of the Cross. The Cross is not a sign of death but of life; not of frustration but of hope, not of defeat but of victory.
Indeed—as an ancient liturgical hymn says, the Cross of Christ is our "only hope," for any other promise of salvation is deceptive, since it does not resolve the fundamental human problem: the problem of evil and death.
This is why Christians venerate the Cross and recognize it as the sign par excellence of love and hope. Even young people, oriented by nature to life, embrace the Cross of Jesus—like Francis of Assisi and all the saints—because they understand that the mystery of life would be a meaningless riddle without it.
Do not be afraid to welcome the Cross of Christ into your life. It gives full value and meaning to life’s joys and sorrows, helping every person to make his or her own life a gift of love for God and neighbor.
The Cross teaches us to love everyone, even our enemies, and to cooperate in Christ’s redemptive work and in the fulfillment of God’s kingdom.
At the foot of the Cross, the Mother of Jesus stands silently in prayer. If we follow Christ in his Passion, Mary will always be at our side. Today I would like to entrust the Lenten journey of the whole Church to the Blessed Virgin.
The sign of our salvation and the banner of final victory, the Cross is the witness which you must receive from the generations that have gone before you, so that you can carry it into the future as true apostles of the Gospel.
—Excerpted from an Angelus talk, Sunday, March 14, 1999, to young people.
If you enjoy our articles, we ask you to please consider subscribing to the print edition of Restoration; it's only $10 a year, and will help us stay in print. Thanks, and God bless you!