The greatest and most powerful moment in the entire pontificate of Pope Francis turned not on footnotes or soundbites, but upon the dramatic presence of Christ Crucified. The Holy Father made his lonely pilgrimage, across a desolate world, to that miraculous crucifix once used in a previous plague. For once in this bewildering pandemic, the whole world turned its gaze towards the blazing fire of divine charity. The Cross stood steady while the whole world turned around it. Everyone stopped, and many remained, at the foot of the Cross – still at the mystery presented in the dark, rainy, silence of an empty square.
We speak about the Church as Christ’s body, human and divine – and we speak about the Holy Spirit as the soul of the Church, which is to say the fire of divine charity which forms the body, which heals, sanctifies, and nourishes, which gives living water to our created souls. This fire of divine charity is communicated to us through the sacraments. We do not believe they are “non-essential”, but rather that they are divine graces upon which our very salvation depends. How can we live without them?
The sacraments all turn upon the reality of this divine fire. We see this charity principally through the sacrifice of the Cross. On Good Friday, the whole universe stops to gaze upon Jesus Christ, who makes the supreme offering of love and worship upon the Cross.