Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum

Each year the Christian community of Rome, together with great numbers of pilgrims from around the world, gathers with the Successor of Peter at the Colosseum on the evening of Good Friday, the liturgical memorial of the Lord’s Passion, for the traditional devotion of the Stations of the Cross.
Millions of the faithful take part through television in this moment of contemplation and prayer. The City and the World are in a sense united around the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord, the re-enactment of which is marked by readings from the Bible, prayers, meditations and songs. The way of the cross winds from inside the Colosseum to the slopes of the Palatine.

OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF

STATIONS OF THE CROSS
AT THE COLOSSEUM

IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE JOHN PAUL II

GOOD FRIDAY 2002

Each year the Christian community of Rome, together with great numbers of pilgrims from around the world, gathers with the Successor of Peter at the Colosseum on the evening of Good Friday, the liturgical memorial of the Lord’s Passion, for the traditional devotion of the Stations of the Cross.
Millions of the faithful take part through television in this moment of contemplation and prayer. The City and the World are in a sense united around the mystery of the passion and death of the Lord, the re-enactment of which is marked by readings from the Bible, prayers, meditations and songs. The way of the cross winds from inside the Colosseum to the slopes of the Palatine.The 14 stations, as on other occasions in recent years, follow a strictly biblical outline, based on texts drawn mainly from the Gospel of St Mark.
Each year the Holy Father invites people of various nationalities and different Churches or Ecclesial Communities to compose the meditations of the Way of the Cross. This year’s meditations are novel in that they have been composed by a variety of authors: 14 journalists and communicators, lay men and women from different countries, all of whom are accredited to the Press Office of the Holy See and represent well-known press and television networks. While they are in touch with everyday news events, they are also sensitive to the world of the spirit; trained in the clear and concise language of the media, they are used to reporting the news of the day. They have found ways to link the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth to contemporary historical events: the people, situations and places of our world are themselves a daily Via Crucis where Christ continues to live and to suffer in vast numbers of our brothers and sisters – in the powerless and the poor, in the outcast and the sick, in prisoners and victims of persecution, in the homeless and in those without a country. In many of the stations, the meditation links the history of Jesus of Nazareth with the story of those men and women of our own time who are victims of violence, war, persecution and terrorism.
Women journalists have been assigned the meditations on those stations in which women – Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the women disciples who followed the Master to Calvary, the daughters of Jerusalem – are the principal actors and witnesses of various episodes of the Lord’s Passion.
In our own day too – and the authors of the 2002 Way of the Cross have stated it well – the face of God shines forth in the face of Christ. In Christ’s Passion we read the sufferings of mankind. In the pain-filled faces of the men and women of our time we have a glimpse of the face of Christ, accused, reviled, crucified. Yet his Easter victory, his triumph over evil and death, offers hope to all humanity, the promise and pledge of new life.

OPENING PRAYER

The Holy Father:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R.Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: the shadows of evening have fallen, the evening of Good Friday, 2002. Once more the Church of Rome prepares to relive, listening to the Word, the final passage of the life of Christ: from the Garden of Olives to the tomb hewn in the Garden. Via Crucis
The path of suffering, which Christ treads in obedience to the saving plan of the Father. His path and ours: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16,24). Via Crucis
The event which reveals the love of the Trinity: of the Father, who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3,16); of the Son, who so loved his friends that he laid down his life for them (cf. Jn 15,13); of the Spirit of peace, mercy and consolation. Via Crucis
The school of life according to the Gospel, where the disciple, gazing upon the Crucified One, learns how to love God above all things and spend his life for his brothers and sisters; $\how forgiveness can triumph over injury and evil be requited with good; how the heart can open to a friend and the pain of the afflicted find relief. Via Crucis

An appeal for reconciliation and peace, so that in Asia, Africa and the Middle East today’s bitter conflicts may cease, bloodshed may come to an end, so that, by the power of the Spirit, all hardness of heart may be shattered and “enemies begin to speak to one another, those who were estranged join hands in friendship, and nations seek the ways of peace together” (Roman Liturgy).

The Holy Father:
Peace to those nearby and those far away! Peace to you, Jerusalem, City beloved of the Lord! Peace to you, Rome, City of many martyrs, wellspring of Christian civilization!
Let us pray.
Holy and merciful Father, grant that we may walk with faith and love along the way of the Cross. As we share in Christ’s passion, may we come at last with him to the glory of your Kingdom.
Through Christ our Lord.
R.Amen.

____________________________________________________

I Jesus is in Agony in the Garden of Olives

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 14,32-36

And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them: “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch”. And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will”.

MEDITATION
The garden full of olive trees offers no comfort this night. It is sad to see that face pressed against the earth, it hurts to see the anguish that weighs upon his heart. The friends he chose for company are asleep, the same ones who promised: We shall always be with you, Jesus. Their promises are asleep too. A little while ago, Peter was boasting: Even if everyone runs away, I shall remain. But now he cannot even keep his eyes open. These last few steps Jesus had to walk alone. The long path of miracles and words, the path so full of people, has led him here: to a stony patch of ground and a solitude so immense that it terrifies. Face to the ground: nothing majestic about this scene, except the simplicity of a man who confesses: My soul is full of sorrow. The one who calmed the waters cannot give himself peace. The storm is the anguish that shakes him to the core, as it shakes millions of men and women, yesterday, today and tomorrow. The struggle can last a long time, and in this garden it ends only when the Son says to the Father: “Your will be done”. A prayer that brings profound peace.

PRAYER
Jesus, you came to Gethsemane full of anguish
and left with a heart resolute and at peace.
Comfort those who cry out in fear
or are troubled by doubt.
You experienced our weakness,
grant strength and hope
to all the dispirited of the earth.
You walk every day
with those weighed down by life’s burdens,
walk beside each one of us, step by step.
To you, Jesus,
who fell to the ground, your face bathed in blood,
be honour and glory
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

II Jesus is Betrayed by Judas and Arrested

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk. 14,43.45-46

And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said: “Master!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him.

MEDITATION
As soon as the Disciple traitor fell from the tree,
the devil rushed to draw up to his face …
with a kiss that burned right through the lips
that in the night of the betrayal had kissed Christ.
(Alexandr Puskin, Russian poet – 1836)
On that tragic, dark night in Gethsemane, “the night when he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11,23), the Son of God, by his words and actions, awakens in us different and even conflicting emotions: we sense the richness of his spiritual dialogue with the disciples and we experience the joy of the meal taken together; we contemplate the heights of pure intentions and shudder at the cowardice of betrayal. Jesus, wise and all-seeing, obedient to the Father’s plan of salvation, goes to his death for the liberation of the human race. The disciple turned traitor is left with nothing but universal, ageless scorn: the “curse of Judas”, the dark abyss. From the death of Christ new life flowers, memory and message of an undying hope: universal salvation.

PRAYER
Lord Jesus,
in our divisions, the bitter fruit of sin,
show us the way to unity,
the way that leads to the inexpressible richness
of the Gospel and of Redemption.
The time determined by the Father must come,
when we shall see the love which forgives
and unites.
You, wise Master of life,
kind and patient
in the face of betrayal by your disciple
and the insolence of rulers,
grant to us, in these days of unheard-of violence
and brutal conflict between men,
a ray of your calm and your serenity.
Let us know peace and forgiveness,
for there can be no peace without forgiveness,
nor forgiveness without compassion.
To you, Jesus,
who turn your meek face
to the friend who betrays you,
be honour and glory
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
today and in that day which will never end.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

III – Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 14,55.60-62.64

Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said: “I am”. And they all condemned him as deserving death.

MEDITATION
The judicial apparatus has now been set in motion. The apparatus that condemns without proofs, accuses without grounds, judges without appeal, and crushes the innocent. Summary justice, the swift justice of modern dictatorships and times of war. The justice sometimes given – blasphemy of blasphemies – in the name of the God who forgives and absolves. Jesus in the dock. Like all the victims of caprice, presumed guilty of crimes of conscience. They resist, they refuse to bow beneath the yoke of the system, power which crushes, destroying personhood and identity. Identity check: “Who are you”. On arrival, every prisoner receives a number. At all times he has to show his tag, hand over his identity card. In the hour of caprice, the Church’s duty and her boast is to tell him that he is not a number, and that every man has a right to be called by name. “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mk 14,61). The response is full of light: “I am!” (Mk 14,62). To proclaim one’s own identity and one’s faith are acts sometimes punishable by death. How many people are seeking God? How many are seeking him behind bars? How many seek him within the prison of their life, their sufferings? How many seek him amid mockery and torture? Men and women in prisons everywhere, hunted down, marked, scarred, lacking answers to the essential questions: about the meaning of life and about evil, about repentance, forgiveness and salvation, about the mystery of the Cross and of Redemption. A people of flesh and blood. A land of encounters, faces, voices and cries. A land of the Gospel.

PRAYER
Jesus, you need but say “I am”,
and we will race to your side.
In the prisons men and women implore you.
They keep watch and pray in the night.
They teach us about the air which they breathe,
the evil which weighs them down,
the freedom they seek.
Hear their prayer.
If they feel unforgiven, unloved by you and by us,
if their hope is denied,
then they are doubly condemned,
relegated to death row.
Give them what you have given us:
faith in you and in your presence,
love of life, hope for a new world.
To us and to them grant the means to seek you,
to accept the time of waiting, and to find you.
To you, Jesus,
Good Shepherd and Lord of our lives,
Friend with a merciful face,
be pure and grateful praise
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
world without end.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

IV Peter Denies Jesus

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 14,72
And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times”. And he broke down and wept.

MEDITATION
The cock crows for a second time, and Peter’s tears fall to the ground. What has happened to Cephas, the Rock? He has denied his Redeemer, not once, not twice, but three times. Just as his faith wavered when he tried to walk on water, once again Peter reveals his weakness. He had brashly promised that he would rather die than deny his Master. But in the end, a young servant girl suffices to make him ashamed of his friendship with Jesus. As soon as Jesus glances at Peter the Apostle recognizes his grievous error. Humbled, he cries and asks God for forgiveness. The lesson of Peter is a powerful one: that even those closest to Jesus will offend him through sin. The sound of the cock’s crow will never be the same for the Prince of the Apostles: it will remind him for ever of his fear and frailty.

PRAYER
Lord, give us a humble and contrite heart.
May we also learn to shed tears for our sins,
and return to your loving embrace
every time we have turned our backs on you.
Let us, like Peter, learn from our faults.
May we never take our faith for granted,
nor presume to be better than the others.
Help us to know ourselves as we really are,
weak, sinful, and in constant need
of your forgiveness.
To you, Jesus,
who gaze serenely upon your friend,
to you be praise and glory
with the Father and the Spirit
for ages unending.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

V Jesus is Judged by Pilate

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,14-15

And Pilate said to them: “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more: “Crucify him”. So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

MEDITATION
“Let him be crucified” (Mt 27,22).
The cry rings out whenever a human being is maltreated. Every day each one of us becomes a judge. We think we have the right to judge and condemn what others do, but we refuse to be blamed or judged by others. We always find a justification for our faults and mistakes. Jesus remains silent before the hypocrisy and arrogance of power, before the indifference of those who avoid their own responsibilities. He thus confirms the teaching he gave to his disciples: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned” (Lk 6,37). Jesus has his hands tied, but he is free. In accepting the mystery of the Cross, he shows us true love, true justice.

PRAYER
Lord Jesus,
free us from hypocrisy and indifference,
from the temptation to wash our hands
in the face of injustice.
Grant us the humility we need
to recognize our mistakes.
Teach us to reject all compromise
with injustice and deceit.
Help us to be silent within
that we may hear the cry of those
who are suffering.
Enlighten those who always try
to justify the wrong that they have done.
You, O Lord, poured out your blood
as the price of our freedom:
give each of us your voice
that we may lift it up
in defence of the oppressed,
of all who suffer in silence,
so that peace, justice and forgiveness
may become a reality in the world.
You, Jesus, were condemned though innocent:
to you be pure and thankful praise,
with the Father and the Spirit
in this age and for all eternity.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

VI Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,17-19

The soldiers clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him. And they began to salute him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him.

MEDITATION
O Christ, you are the true King, yet men mocked you and gave you a crown not to adore but to deride you. We suffer with you because people are blind and deaf to your message of salvation. Your Kingdom is not of this world, but we humans look for honour, power, success, wealth: a world without suffering. Yet we inflict pain upon others, even the unborn, even animals. By your sacrifice you taught us to break the cycle of violence. True man, you bore unspeakable pain; contemplating your face, we find strength to bear our sorrows, in the hope of finding welcome in your Kingdom, the true and only Kingdom.

PRAYER
O Jesus, our King,
forgive us our duplicity:
we weep for your suffering,
yet we strike others
to assert our own selfishness.
When we go astray, be our sure guide,
in our time of trial,
be strength in our weakness,
give us, inconsistent as we are,
perseverance in following you.
Grant that human violence may be overcome
by your gentleness,
and that incomprehensible suffering,
accepted in faith,
may be an instrument of peace and salvation.
You, Jesus, are the King crowned with thorns,
the King with the mild and peaceful face:
to you be honour and glory,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit
in time that passes
and on the day that never ends.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

VII Jesus Carries the Cross

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,20

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

MEDITATION
Jesus has taken upon himself the cross destined for each one of us. To our eyes, it seems the symbol of paradox and contradiction. Even though he possessed the glory and the power given him by the Father, Jesus accepted a horrific death, inglorious, even shameful. He knew that the cross was the only way to penetrate the hidden depths of man; a violent death, the one means of entering gently into our hearts. It is hard to bear this paradoxical cross in the globalized world of today, dominated by economic, political and military power. The powerful of this world join forces to wreak vengeance, to strike poor and wearied peoples. Even terrorism is justified in the name of “justice” and “defence” of the poor.
A violent message, sent by the powerful: it breaks violently upon our hearts, turning them to stone. For this great part of humanity that suffers, for the victims of violence and injustice, for these too Jesus carries the cross.

PRAYER
Grant us, O Lord, the strength and courage
to share your cross and your sufferings
in our daily life and work.
Give us a spirit of service and sacrifice,
that we may not seek power and glory,
but strive to be an instrument of solidarity
and peace
for those crushed by the violence and injustice
of the powerful of this world.
With wonder and gratitude,
we greet you, Jesus,
as you bear the cross,
your face marked by fatigue:
all thanks to you with the Father and the Spirit
for ever and ever.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

VIII Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,21

They compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

MEDITATION
A man from the countryside came to Jerusalem on business. A strange procession blocked his way. In a narrow and crowded street soldiers, weeping women, a few fanatics with eyes full of hate and a man condemned, with no more strength to bear the wood of shame upon his shoulders. The soldiers look for someone to bear this weight for him. This is not out of any sense of pity: they must keep to the scheduled time of execution. They choose the first person they happen upon, because he seems fit enough. A man from the countryside came to Jerusalem on business. There he truly earned something: five minutes in the history of salvation, a mention in the Gospel. At no cost to himself, he learned the weight of the cross. The mystery is revealed. The cross is too heavy for God made man. Jesus needs a hand. People need solidarity. We have been told: “Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6,2). Solidarity.

PRAYER
Lord, you said:
“If any man would come after me,
let him deny himself
and take up his cross
and follow me” (Mk 8,34).
How can I do that?
Teach me how,
and by your grace
overcome in me
the fear of others’ hate,
the fear of suffering,
the fear of a lonely death,
the fear of fear.
Lord, have mercy on my weakness.
To you, Jesus,
crushed by fatigue,
your face marked by exhaustion,
to you our love, full of solidarity and thanksgiving,
with the Father and the Spirit,
with whom you are perfectly one,
in time that passes and in unchanging eternity.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

IX Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Lk 23,27-28.31
And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”.

MEDITATION
Cries of mourning accompany the journey of the One condemned to death. Along the road that leads to Calvary the women weep and beat their breasts. They do not know that in exchange for their tears they will receive a fearful prophecy of what is yet to come. Do not cry over me. Save your lament for the days and years to come, for if they treat the Innocent One in this way, what will they do to you and your children? Jesus knows the answer to the question that he puts to the women of Jerusalem. Carrying his Cross, he staggers under the weight of human sin and pain, the sin and pain of those he loved as a brother. He knows already how far into history extends the sorrowful way that leads to the “Calvaries” of the world.

PRAYER
Lord Jesus Christ,
you know the depths of our heart,
the capacity for good and evil
that is in every person: teach us to forgive
and to ask forgiveness,
to have mercy on ourselves and on others.
Remember Jerusalem, blessed by your love,
ravaged by human hatred.
Grant to the men and women
of that Holy Land peace and resurrection.
On your face, Jesus,
there shines the light of the Father
and the tenderness of the Mother;
to you be praise and glory
with the eternal Light and the eternal Love,
in this time of expectation
and in the eternal fulfilment.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

X Jesus Is Crucified

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,24

And they crucified him, and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.

MEDITATION
Jesus is crucified. His hands and feet pierced by merciless nails. Stripped of his garments, he is now covered with the sins of the world. Out of love he allows himself to be crucified; in love human suffering acquires saving power. Sustained by this certitude, generations of men and women, young and old, follow the Crucified One in this radical experience of love. The Saviour’s wounds bleed still today, aggravated by the nails of injustice, of lies and hatred, of abuse, sacrilege and indifference. On the palms of his hands pierced by the nails are written the names of those who with him continue to be crucified.

PRAYER
Lord Jesus,
nailed to the wood for love for us,
give us your freedom.
Teach us to overcome the fear of suffering
with the strength that flows from your Cross.
Place us deep within this mystery of love
that transforms into moments of grace
even the humble events of every day.
Jesus, raised upon the Cross,
draw to yourself all those who seek your face;
help all who share in your sufferings
to discover the meaning
of their mysterious calling
to share your passion and the agony of the world.
You, Jesus, are the Crucified One
whose face radiates mercy;
as we remember,
to you goes our grateful adoration
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
today and for ages unending.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

XI Jesus Promises the Kingdom to the Good Thief

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world. From the Gospel according to Lk 23,39-43

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”. But the other rebuked him, saying: “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong”. And he said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. And he said to him: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.

MEDITATION
“Today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk 23,43): this is the most consoling word that Jesus speaks in the Gospel. Still more encouraging is the fact that he says it to a criminal. The good thief had certainly committed murder, perhaps more than once, and knew nothing of Jesus, except what he had heard the crowd shouting. But now he hears the words of forgiveness that the Nazarene speaks to those who are crucifying him and he understands, as in a flash, of which Kingdom this “prophet” has spoken. He immediately defends him from the sneers of the other criminal and immediately pleads for salvation. A sense of solidarity and a cry for help are enough to save him. That thief represents us all. His brief adventure teaches us that the Kingdom preached by Jesus is not hard to reach for those who call on him.

PRAYER
Lord Jesus,
you promised paradise
to the criminal who spoke to you from the cross
next to yours: remember us too,
now that you are in your Kingdom.
Grant that your consoling promise
of eternal life and eternal love
may reach every woman and every man
who faces the moment of death.
To you, Jesus,
the Condemned One with the welcoming face,
to you be everlasting praise and thanksgiving,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
today and for ages unending.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

XII Jesus on the Cross, his Mother and his Disciple

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Jn 19,26-27

When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother: “Woman, behold, your son!”.
Then he said to the disciple: “Behold, your mother!”. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

MEDITATION
Mary, you are standing at the foot of the Cross; the youngest disciple is standing next to you. Amid the noise of the soldiers and the crowd, the two of you lift your eyes, silently, to Christ. Mary, did you raise your hands to collect the blood running down the wood, the sap of the tree of life? Did your tears water the earth, where too many mothers lay their children to rest? From the beginning you pondered in your heart, in silence and abandonment, in peace and trust, what you saw and heard. Now you offer your Son to the world, and you receive the Disciple whom he loved. From that moment, John takes you into the home of his heart and his life, and the power of Love expands within him. He is now, in the Church, the witness to the light and through his Gospel he reveals the Saviour’s Love.

PRAYER
Jesus, from the Cross
you looked upon Mary and your Disciple:
grant us, in the midst of our sufferings,
the courage and the joy to welcome you
and to follow you with complete trust.
Christ, the source of life,
of every grace and beauty,
grant that we may contemplate your smiling face,
the face of him who saves the world and leads it
to the Father.
Lord, our praise rises to you,
guided by the Church and by your Mother:
grant that we may see in the folly of the Cross
the promise of our resurrection.
Your face, Jesus,
shines brightly in the hour of darkness,
as the face of Master, Son and Friend:
to you go our love and gratitude,
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
in the fleetingness of time
and in unchanging eternity.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

XIII Jesus Dies on the Cross

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,34.36-37

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying: “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down”. And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.

MEDITATION
Never more than in the hour of his death, the most important hour in human history, has Jesus been closer to us. In the final moment, just like us, Jesus is powerless, overcome by anguish. We die all alone. The nails pierce his flesh, but even more his spirit. Could it be that the Father has abandoned him? He is in pain for the sorrow of his Mother, chosen to give life to a Son that she has to watch as he dies. Still, in love and in obedience, Jesus accepts the Father’s designs. He knows that without the gift of his life our death would be without hope; the darkness of despair would not become light; suffering would not be changed into consolation, into hope of eternity.

PRAYER
Thank you, Jesus,
for having conquered our death by your death:
grant that the crosses of all those who, like you,
die at the hands of others,
will be turned into trees of life.
Thank you, Jesus,
for having made the cross,
that place of suffering and death,
the sign of our reconciliation with the Father;
grant that your sacrifice
will dry all the tears that are in the world,
especially the tears of those who, like your Mother,
bears the cross of the death of someone innocent.
To you, Jesus,
your head lying on the wood and no sign of life
on your face, be adoring and grateful praise,
on the day that sets,
and on the day of inextinguishable light.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

XIV Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
From the Gospel according to Mk 15,46
Joseph of Arimathea bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb
which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

MEDITATION
After the terrible thunder at the moment of death, the great silence. His night-time disciples, who out of fear followed him in secret, are no longer afraid. In the light of day they ask Pilate for the body of Jesus for the burial. The Virgin of the great silence whose womb bore the blessed Fruit – the One that the universe could not contain – receives once more in her lap the body of Jesus taken down from the Cross: in adoration she contemplates him, in her immense sorrow she venerates him. The King sleeps, but his Bride watches: it is the day of God’s rest. Together with the King, creation too sleeps in anticipation of its reawakening. The Son of God descends to the dead in order to rescue those detained by death. His light overthrows the darkness of Hades. The earth shakes and the tombs open. Jesus comes to free the just and restore them to the light of the resurrection. He has been swallowed up by the darkness of death, but only to be brought back to the fulness of light and life: as the whale keeps Jonah in its belly, only to give him back after three days, so the earth will open its jaws to release the radiant body of the One who lives.

PRAYER
Jesus, you have become the least among men,
you let yourself fall onto
the earth like a grain of wheat.
Now, from this seed there sprouts
the tree of Life that embraces the universe.
Just as the pious women went early to the tomb
with spices and ointments,
Lord, grant that we will come to you
with the scents and aromas of our poor love.
Jesus, in our churches you are waiting:
you wait in expectation for someone
who will be small and humble like you
in the Eucharist,
adore you and bear witness to you before the people,
recognize you in the poor and suffering.
Grant that each one of us will adore you
and be your witness in the Eucharistic tabernacle
and in the sacrament
of the hungry, the thirsty, the sick.
To you, Jesus,
whose face is peaceful in the solemn rigidity of
death, our love and our adoration
at this evening hour and on the day
which knows no end.

R.Amen.
All: Pater noster, qui es in cælis:

The Holy Father addresses those present.
At the conclusion of his Address His Holiness imparts his Apostolic Blessing.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
R. Both now and for ever.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. May Almighty God bless you,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

 

About Alex Colao

“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.” View all posts by Alex Colao

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