Passion for change
Ashish Alexander

The Power of the Cross
by Raniero Cantalamessa Media House.
Pages 127. Rs 100

The Power of the Cross is a slender volume comprising meditations of Ranier Cantalamessa, a preacher of the Papal Household and a former professor of Ancient Christianity at the Catholic University of Milan. The Passion readings were given by Cantalamessa in the Basilica of St. Peter during the Good Friday Services from 1996 to 2006 in the presence of the Pope. The spiritual content of these meditations, therefore, centres on the passion of the Christ. Each chapter of the book highlights aspects of divine suffering, explains it in the light of recent human experience around the globe and provides valuable insights from scripture passages through a lucid yet profound interpretation.

For instance, in the chapter ‘Christ has broken down the dividing wall,’ the writer looks squarely at the blemish of anti-Semitism, as it has been practiced in Europe, and bravely advocates an effort towards reconciliation. The meditations give solace and then encourage the reader to emulate the sacrificial death of the Messiah through an engagement with the world, to risk life in fighting poverty, disease, violence and other scourges of the present age.