Message of Jubilee Holy Door

Author: ZENIT


Cardinal Virgilio Noe Reveals Secrets of Holy Year's Symbol


After kneeling on the threshold, the Pope will knock three times on the Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica while reciting the prayer: "Oh God, grant your Church the grace to live this propitious moment with joy, when you have willed to open this door to your faithful, so they will come in and raise their prayers to you; and, after asking for forgiveness, indulgence and total remission of sins, will walk decisively in life according to your Son's Gospel ..."

With these words, next Christmas Eve John Paul II will open the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. In its brevity, the prayer highlights the symbolic meaning of crossing the threshold of the Holy Door.

The Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica has much to say to us and much to recount. Because of this, Cardinal Virgilio Noe has published a book, 'The Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican,' in which he reflects on the message and the history of this most singular door.

In order to express the gratitude of the Swiss population, for having been spared the horrors of World War II, Bishop Francis von Streng of Basilea-Lugano took the initiative and gave Pope Pius XII the nine bronze panels of the Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica, on the occasion of the Holy Year of 1950.

In his book, Cardinal Noe gives a profound meditation on each one of the door panels which are the work of sculptor Vico Consorti.

"The message the Holy Door gives to those who, after reflecting before it, cross the threshold and enter the Basilica, is part of the essence of the Gospel: it is the message of God's mercy bending over man's misery," the Italian Cardinal explains in his book.

Thus, the "sixteen panels of the door are like the verses of a hymn, which sing of God's infinite mercy. They start from the reality of sin, which degrades man, and move to penance which rehabilitates him. They enlighten every moment of any situation with the certainty of divine forgiveness."

It is a real synthesis of divine revelation represented in scenes of simple and immediate language which speaks to all. In fact, the Cardinal stressed the communicative character of the door, because even those who cannot read can understand the language of pictures. In order that this message be understood in all it forcefulness, the book has many colored illustrations.

The second part of the book is a brief history of jubilees, with special attention given to the way these were observed by the 27 Popes who celebrated them. ZE99052702

This article has been selected from the ZENIT Daily Dispatch
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