.- During his noontime Angelus prayer yesterday, held at the papal summer residence of Castelgandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI invited gathered pilgrims to meditate on the unique and indissoluble bond which unites the celebration of the Eucharist in the Mass, with the mystery of the cross. Speaking to faithful gathered in the internal courtyard of the papal palace, the Pope spoke about the upcoming Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, which will fall on September 14.
He said that, "In the year dedicated to the Eucharist, this celebration assumes particular significance. It invites us to mediate on the profound and indissoluble bond that unites the celebration of the Eucharist to the Mystery of the Cross."
"The Eucharist is, then," he continued, "a memorial of the entire Paschal Mystery: passion, death, descent to hell, resurrection and ascent into heaven; and the Cross is a poignant expression of the act of infinite love with which the Son of God saved man and the world from sin and death. For this reason, the sign of the Cross is the fundamental gesture of Christian prayer. To make the sign of the Cross is to pronounce a visible and public 'yes' to he Who died for us and Who rose again; to God Who in the humility and weakness of His love is the Almighty, stronger than all the power and intelligence of the world."
The Holy Father stressed that "the Eucharist is Mystery of death and glory, like the Cross" which "is the passage by which Christ entered His glory and reconciled the entire humanity, overcoming all enmity."
He went on to say that, "For this reason the liturgy invites us to pray with faithful hope: 'Mane nobiscum Domine!" Remain with us Lord, Who with Your Holy Cross have redeemed the world!"
Pope Benedict concluded his reflections calling to mind the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, "present before the Cross at Calvary, is likewise present with the Church and as Mother of the Church in each of our Eucharistic celebrations."
"For this reason," he said, "no one better than her can teach us to understand and experience the Mass with faith and love, uniting ourselves to Christ's redeeming sacrifice. When we receive Holy Communion, we too, like Mary and united with her, embrace the wood that Jesus, with His love, transformed into an instrument of salvation, and we pronounce our 'Amen,' our 'yes' to Love that was crucified and rose again."