This Divine Welcome Cross depicts in the poignant embrace of two persons the transformative and healing power of reconciliation. The powerful biblical image of the patient, long-suffering father being reunited with his prodigal son comes to mind here (Luke 15:11-32). The leaf-filled background evokes the Tree of Life which figures prominently in the first and last books of the Bible (Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7; 22:2,14,19) as a symbol of eternal life, the definitive and never-ending union with God. At 3.5 inches high and 2.9 inches wide, this solid bronze cross has an eyelet which makes it suitable both for use as a personal devotional cross and for public worship as a pectoral cross worn by ministers and pastors. The Divine Welcome Cross was created and cast by a master bronzesmith in Germany. This cross is especially fitting as a gift for those persons in our lives who are experiencing alienation or separation from us, from others, or from themselves. This bronze cross communicates with symbolic depth and power the promise and possibility of forgiveness and mercy in our relationships with God and with each other.
The “God-shaped Hole” in each and every one of us
We all yearn for unconditional and definitive love, acceptance, validation and understanding in our lives from those whom we trust and respect without reservation. (So much to want and hope for from other creatures so fragile and imperfect like ourselves! Especially from our own mothers and fathers!) This profound and inescapable aching and yearning for such love, acceptance, validation and understanding which we all experience in our hearts and souls and which we perhaps try to dull or medicate in so many ultimately counterproductive and self-defeating ways (status, power, possessions, drugs, alcohol, sex) is, in fact, an infinite “God-shaped hole” at the very center of our very being, of our identity, of our deepest and most authentic selves. Saint Augustine of Hippo was right indeed when he wrote in his Confessions: Quia fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in te — “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is not at rest until it rests in thee.”
A Sign of Mercy, Reconciliation and Forgiveness
The Divine Welcome Cross, symbol of the transforming power and healing embrace of love expressed as mercy, reconciliation and forgiveness, depicts the powerful biblical image of the patient, all-loving father reunited with the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). The God of Christians and of the Christian faith is a God of mercy and forgiveness. As Pope Francis has reminded us: The Lord never tires of forgiving us. Never! We, we are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness! This solid bronze wall cross constantly reminds us not to tire of asking for forgiveness, and never to tire of forgiving others when we are challenged to do so. In the Catholic church, the Divine Welcome Cross also makes a loving gift to remind Catholics of the beauty and power of the sacrament of Reconciliation as well as the welcoming back of estranged sisters and brothers.
The reverse side reads in German: Durchdringe, Gott, Du, mein ganzes Wesen. Erfuelle, Du, mein ganzes Sein, dass man aus mir kann lesen die ganze Liebe. +Dein+
Translation: Permeate, O God, my entire essence. Fill my entire being that others can experience your great love through me. I am Yours.