Pope at Angelus: The Sign of the Cross makes us feel God's embrace

The sign of the cross reminds us how much God loves us and makes us feel God's constant embrace, Pope Francis reassured during his midday Angelus address Sunday on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, as he urged faithful to ask themselves whether they witness God-as-love in their lives and communities.

Jun 05, 2023

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
The sign of the cross reminds us how much God loves us, Pope Francis underscored during his Angelus address Sunday at noon on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

Addressing the thousands of faithful in St. Peter's Square, before reciting the midday prayer, the Pope said that the simple gesture, that we learn as children, makes us feel God's embrace, that, with His Love and tenderness, envelops us completely.

Dialogue on God's Love with Nicodemus
In the Pope's remarks, he recalled that the Gospel reading according to St. John, for the Solemnity is taken from Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus.

Nicodemus, the Pope reiterated, was a member of the Sanhedrin, "passionate about the mystery of God," who recognized Jesus as "a divine master" and goes to speak to Him at night, in secret. Jesus, the Pope recalled, listened to him, saying that God loved humanity so much that He sent His Son into the world.

Jesus, he reiterated, spoke about His Father and His immense love.

Father and Son
"Father and Son," the Pope said, is a familiar image that, if we think about it, disrupts our images of God, which often may seem "a singular, majestic and distant reality." Yet, this concept, of a Father and a Son, he said, "brings us back home."

The Pope said we can think of God through the image of "a family gathered around the table," where life is shared. "Besides, the table, which is also an altar," he pointed out, "is a symbol with which certain icons depict the Trinity. It is an image that speaks to us of a God of communion."

"Father, Son and Holy Spirit: communion," he said.

"But it is not only an image," he observed, "it is reality! It is reality because the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that the Father poured into our hearts through Jesus, makes us taste, makes us savour God’s presence: a presence that is always close, compassionate and tender."

Invited to share in God's love
The Holy Spirit does with us what Jesus does with Nicodemus, namely He introduces us to the mystery of new birth and reveals the heart of the Father to us, making us sharers in the very life of God.

"The invitation he extends to us, we might say, is to sit at the table with God to share in His love, which, he noted, is what happens "at every Mass, at the altar, where Jesus offers Himself to the Father and offers Himself for us." 

“And do you know how we can remember this? With the simplest gesture, which we learnt as children: the sign of the cross.”

"By tracing the cross," the Holy Father recalled, "we remind ourselves how much God loved us, to the point of giving His life for us; and we repeat to ourselves that His love envelops us completely, from top to bottom, from left to right, like an embrace that never abandons us."

The Pope encouraged those present, and following, to, in silence, make the sign of the cross.

Witnessing God-as-love
At the same time, the Pope noted, we commit ourselves to bearing witness to God-as-love, creating communion in His name.

“Today, then, we can ask ourselves: do we bear witness to God-as-love? Or has God-as-love become in turn a concept, something we have already heard, that no longer stirs provokes life?”

Pope Francis asked the faithful to question whether their communities bear witness to this. "Do they know how to love? And our family, do we know how to love within our family?" he asked.

The Pope noted that offering love, involves being merciful, keeping the door open, and making our communities a home for all.

"May Mary," the Pope said, before reciting the midday prayer, "help us to live the Church as that home where one loves in a familiar way, to the glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."--Vatican News

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