Letter from the Archbishop of Burgos: «Saint Christ of Burgos: The love that welcomes us» – Pastoral Letters

Dear brothers and sisters:

Next Wednesday, September 14, with the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, we celebrate the Feast of Santo Cristo de Burgos, which I will have the honor of leading in the Cathedral at 7:30 in the afternoon. This devotion, which extends to different regions of Spain and many peoples in Latin America, places before our eyes a crucified Love that welcomes all our difficulties, falls and fears to remind us that the weight of His Cross frees us from all our yokes.

The Septuagint, which has already begun to be preached in honor of the Holy Christ who protects and guards our city, revolves around the Seven Words of Jesus on the cross. Words born from the wounded lips of the Lord as He hung on the tree to give us – by His grace – even life itself.

These words, a seed of incomparable Love, must accompany our Church that worshiped in Burgos, in all moments of our existence.

1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus, who begged for mercy from the Father for those who had crucified him, is the same Lord who today – in the eyes of our Christ – tenderly watches over our wounds and perpetuates that he died for love, forgiving, and did so to the end. by then he couldn’t. And how hard it is for us to forgive…

2. “I assure you: today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23, 43). The good thief, seeing Jesus stretched out on the cross, suffering and broken to the extreme, recognizes in the Son of God the weight of pain. In this way, he glimpses the meaning of suffering when it is accepted as Love, so that the loved ones may live. Our sufferings can also be welcomed by Jesus so that we can find relief and rest in Him: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

3. «Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother” (John 19, 26-27). Mary, at the foot of the cross, receives the precious task of becoming the mother of all, without exception. She, under the patronage of Santa Maria la Mayor, silently watches over the citizens of Burgos from the cathedral. Christ, his son, from the chapel built on the old Romanesque cloister, looks at him and says again: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21, 5). It is the root and hope that our existence can also be reborn and renewed every day.

4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15, 34). Our Christ, helpless, agonized on the cross because of our abandonment. In the blessed image you can see her human joints, natural hair, skin covering. Loneliness repels us because we are made for love and fellowship. We must make sure that no one is alone and abandoned, especially in old age and poverty. There Jesus is waiting for us to surround Him with warmth and love.

5. “I thirst!” (John 19, 28). Having spilled water, with broken bones and a heart like wax melting in his bowels (cf. Ps. 22, 15-16), he cried out that he was thirsty. And many saints have understood that the Lord is thirsty for each one of us: for our love, for our consecration, for the service of the most needy where He Himself has engraved His face. To be a pitcher to water today’s thirsty.

6. “It is finished” (John 19, 30). Christ fulfills the will of the Father to give us eternal life and because he was faithful he will rise again. Therefore, in Him we find the perfect mirror for fulfilling the will of God, who always looks out for our good. Our life on earth must be completed as Christ fully dwells in us through love. And let us also cooperate with Him to complete this work of love in all mankind.

7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23, 46). Christ completely abandons His life in the hands of God. Everything was delivered to him by the Father (cf. Luke 10, 22) and now everything is delivered to the Father by the Son.

Let us, together with the Virgin Mary, place each of these words in the heart of Jesus, so that our lives will be a prelude to a new and resurrected hope. Until we do what He tells us to do with our steps (cf. John 2:5) and until we can cry out without fear: “He is not here: He is risen!” (Matthew 28, 6).

With much love, I wish you a joyful celebration of Santo Cristo de Burgos.

+ Mario Iceta Gavicagogeascoa

Archbishop of Burgos

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