Pope: the love that accepted the Cross asks to be “welcomed” and “spread” by man
In his message for Lent 2007, Benedict XVI invited all to give the love of Christ to others by struggling against any form of contempt for life and exploitation of others and by easing the tragedy of solitude and neglect suffered by so many people.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – God’s love for mankind, the greatest manifestation of which is found in the Cross, asks that people “welcome” and “spread” it, identifying offences to human dignity and fighting all forms of contempt for life and exploitation of others. The message of Benedict XVI for Lent, published today, follows in the path of the encyclical Deus Caritas Est to reflect about the how and why of God’s love for man and about the response of the creature to the Creator.

Focused on the theme “They will look on the one whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37), the document highlights how God’s love is both “agape” – “the oblative love of he who seeks exclusively the good of the other” – and “eros” – “the love of he who desires to possess what he lacks, which yearns for union with the loved one”. The theologian pope explained that the love of God is certainly agape: “Everything that the human creature is and has is divine gift”. But it is also eros: “The Creator of the universe shows for the people he has chosen a predilection that transcends all human motivation.” And “the Omnipotent awaits the ‘yes’ of his creatures like a young bridegroom await that of his bride.” But “unfortunately, humanity, from its origins, seduced by the lies of Evil, closed itself off from the love of God in the illusion of impossible self-sufficiency.”

“However, God did not admit defeat. Rather, the ‘no’ of man was like a decisive push that induced him to manifest his love in all its redemptive strength.” And it is the Cross in which the “fullness of God’s love” is revealed.

Lent, then, is a time of contemplation and reflection about the Cross. “The answer that the Lord wants from us is first of all that we welcome his love and allow ourselves to be drawn by Him. Accepting his love, however, is not enough. We must match it and commit ourselves to communicating it to others: Christ ‘draws me to him’ to unite with me, so that I may learn to love my brothers with his very love.”

The contemplation of the Cross, with its missionary character, also prompts us “to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted on the dignity of the human being; it pushes us especially to fight against all forms of contempt for life and exploitation of people and to ease the tragedy of solitude and neglect of so many people.” Benedict XVI added: “May Lent be for each Christian a renewed experience of the love of God given to us in Christ, a love that we should seek daily in our turn to ‘give again’ to our neighbour, especially those who are suffering and in need. Only thus can we participate fully in the joy of Easter.”