Tuesday, 19 February 2008

The transfiguration - Anticipating the Cross - New Life - The challenge to Follow Christ through death to New Life...

[Sorry a little belated - merely forgot to publish it]

To enter into life, it is necessary to listen to Jesus and follow him along the way of the cross, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this at the weekend after praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square. He began his address by thanking those who spiritually accompanied him and the members of the Roman Curia on their spiritual exercises, which ended Saturday.

Then the Holy Father turned his attention to the Gospel from today's liturgy, which presented the story of the Transfiguration.

"The transfiguration is an event of prayer," the Pontiff said. "Praying, Jesus is immersed in God, he is united intimately to him, he adheres with his human will to the Father's will of love, and in this way light invades him and the truth of his being appears visibly: He is God, light from light. Even his robes become white and luminous."

Benedict XVI said this image recalls the sacrament of baptism and "the white robes worn by the neophytes."

"Those who are reborn in baptism are clothed in light, anticipating heavenly existence, which the Book of Revelation represents with the symbol of white robes," he explained.

"This," the Pope said, "is the crucial point: The Transfiguration is an anticipation of the Resurrection, but this presupposes death."

He added: "Jesus manifests his glory to the apostles so that they have the strength to face the scandal of the cross and understand that it is necessary to pass through many tribulations to reach the kingdom of God. The voice of the Father, which resounds from on high, proclaims Jesus as his beloved Son, as in the baptism in the Jordan, adding: 'Listen to him.'"

"To enter into life it is necessary to listen to Jesus," the Holy Father affirmed, "to follow him along the way of the cross, carrying, like him, the hope of the resurrection in our heart. 'Spe salvi,' saved in hope. Today we can say: 'Transfigured in hope.'"

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