Meditations for Good Friday Via Crucis

Penned by Cardinal Ruini, Pope's Vicar for Rome

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of the meditations Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for Rome, prepared for Good Friday's Stations of the Cross at the Roman Colosseum. Benedict XVI will preside over the event.

* * *

INTRODUCTION

R. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi,
quia per Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

1. Per lignum servi facti sumus, et per sanctam Crucem liberati sumus. R.

2. Fructus arboris seduxit nos, Filius Dei redemit nos. R.

MEDITATION

When the Apostle Philip asked Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father," he replied, "Have I been with you all this time, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:8-9). This evening, as we accompany Jesus in our hearts while he makes his way beneath the cross, let us not forget those words. Even as he carries the cross, even in his death on the cross, Jesus remains the Son, who is one with God the Father. When we look upon his face disfigured by beating, weariness and inner suffering, we see the face of the Father. Indeed, it is precisely in this moment that God's glory, his surpassing splendour, in some way becomes visible on the face of Jesus. In this poor, suffering man whom Pilate, in the hope of eliciting compassion, showed to the Jews with the words "Behold the man!" (Jn 19:5), we see revealed the true greatness of God, that mysterious grandeur beyond all our imagining.

Yet in the crucified Jesus we see revealed another kind of grandeur: our own greatness, the grandeur which belongs to every man and woman by the simple fact that we have a human face and heart. In the words of Saint Anthony of Padua, "Christ, who is your life, hangs before you, so that you can gaze upon the cross as if in a mirror… If you look upon him, you will be able to see the greatness of your dignity and worth… Nowhere else can we better recognize our own value, than by looking into the mirror of the cross" (Sermones dominicales et festivi, III, pp. 213-214). Jesus, the Son of God, died for you, for me, for each of us. In this way he gave us concrete proof of how great and precious we are in the eyes of God, the only eyes capable of seeing beyond all appearances and of peering into the depths of our being.

As we make the Way of the Cross, let us ask God to grant us this gaze of truth and love, so that, in union with him, we may become free and good.

The Holy Father: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

R. Amen.

The Holy Father: Let us pray.

A moment of silence follows

Lord God, almighty Father,
you know all things
and you see, hidden within our hearts, our great need for you.
Grant each of us the humility to acknowledge this need.
Free our mind from the pretension,
wrong-headed and even ridiculous,
that we can master the mystery which embraces us.
Free our will from the presumption,
equally naïve and unfounded,
that we can create our own happiness
and the meaning of our lives.
Enlighten and purify our inner eye,
and enable us to recognize, free of all hypocrisy,
the evil which lies within us.
But grant us too,
in the light of the cross and resurrection of your only Son,
the certainty that, united to him and sustained by him,
we too can overcome evil with good.
Lord Jesus,
help us, in this spirit, to walk behind your cross.

R/. Amen.

FIRST STATION
Jesus is condemned to death

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel of John 19:6-7, 12, 16

When the chief priests and the officers saw Jesus, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God"…

Upon this, Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar."
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

MEDITATION

Why was Jesus, the one who "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), condemned to death? This question will accompany us along the Way of the Cross, even as it accompanies us throughout our lives.

In the Gospels we find a true answer: the Jewish leaders wanted his death because they understood that Jesus considered himself the Son of God. We also find an answer that the Jews used as a pretext, in order to obtain his condemnation from Pilate: Jesus pretended to be a king of this world, the king of the Jews.

But behind this answer there opens up an abyss, to which the Gospels and indeed all of Sacred Scripture direct our gaze: Jesus died for our sins. And on an even deeper level, he died for us, he died because God loves us and he loves us even to giving us his only Son, that we might have life through him (cf. Jn 3:16-17).

It is to ourselves, then, that we must look: to the evil and the sin which dwell within us and which all too often we pretend to ignore. Yet all the more should we turn our eyes to the God who is rich in mercy, and who has called us his friends (cf. Jn 15:15). Thus the Way of the Cross and the entire journey of our life becomes a way of penance, pain and conversion, but also of gratitude, faith and joy.

All:

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Stabat mater dolorosa,
iuxta crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.

SECOND STATION
Jesus carries his cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel of Matthew 27:27-31

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and they led him away to crucify him.

From the Gospel of John 19:17

Jesus went out, bearing his own cross, to the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha.

MEDITATION

Condemnation is followed by humiliation. What the soldiers do to Jesus seems inhuman to us. Indeed, it is inhuman: these are acts of mockery and contempt which express a dark savagery, indifferent to the suffering, including physical suffering, needlessly inflicted upon someone already condemned to the ghastly torture of the cross. And yet the behaviour of the soldiers is also, sadly, all too human. A thousand pages from the books of the history of humanity and the daily news confirm that actions of this kind are not at all foreign to man. The Apostle Paul has clearly expressed this paradox: "I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh: For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do" (Rom 7:18-19).

And so it is: in our conscience shines the light of goodness, a light which in many cases is bright and guides us, fortunately, in our decisions. But often the opposite occurs: this light becomes obscured by resentment, by unspeakable cravings, by the perversion of our heart. And then we become cruel, capable of the worst, even of things unbelievable.

Lord Jesus, I am one of those who reviled and struck you. It was you yourself who said, "What you have done to one of the least of my brethren, you have done to to me" (Mt 25:40). Lord Jesus, forgive me.

All:

Pater noster...

Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.

THIRD STATION
Jesus falls the first time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the book of the prophet Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

MEDITATION

The Gospels do not record Jesus falling beneath the cross, yet this ancient tradition is very likely. We have only to remember that, before taking up his cross, Jesus had been flogged at Pilate's command. After all that had happened after nightfall in the Garden of Olives, his strength would have been, for all intents and purposes, spent.

Before turning our attention to the most profound and interior aspects of Jesus' passion, let us take a moment to consider the physical pain that he was forced to endure. Enormous, awful pain, even to his last breath on the cross, a pain which had to be frightful.

Physical suffering is the easiest type of pain to eliminate, or at least to ease, with our modern techniques and practices, with anaesthetics or other pain treatments. Even though, for many reasons, whether natural or due to human behaviour, a massive amount of physical suffering continues to be present in the world.

In any event, Jesus did not refuse physical suffering and thus he entered into solidarity with the whole human family, especially all the many people whose lives, even today, are filled with this kind of pain. As we watch him fall beneath his cross, let us humbly ask him for the courage to break open, in a solidarity which goes beyond mere words, the narrowness of our hearts.

All:

Pater noster...

O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta
mater Unigeniti!

FOURTH STATION
Jesus meets his Mother

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to John 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 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

The Gospels do not directly recount a meeting between Jesus and his Mother along the way of the cross, but speak instead of the presence of Mary standing at the foot of the cross. There Jesus speaks to her and to the beloved disciple, the Evangelist John. His words have an immediate meaning: he entrusts Mary to John, so that he might take care of her. Yet his words also have a broader and more profound meaning: at the foot of the cross Mary is called to utter a second "yes", after the "yes" which she spoke at the Annunciation, when she became the Mother of Jesus and thus opened the door to our salvation.

With this second "yes", Mary becomes the Mother of us all, the Mother of every man and woman for whom Jesus shed his blood. Here motherhood is a living sign of God's love and mercy for us. Because of this, the bonds of affection and trust uniting the Christian people to Mary are deep and strong. As a result, we have recourse to her spontaneously, especially at the most difficult times of our lives.

Mary, however, paid a high price for this universal motherhood. Simeon had prophesied of her in the Temple of Jerusalem: "a sword will pierce through your own soul" (Lk 2:35).

Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, help us to feel in our hearts, tonight and always, the love-filled suffering which joined you to the cross of your Son.

All:

Pater noster...

Quæ mærebat et dolebat
pia mater, cum videbat
nati pœnas incliti.

FIFTH STATION
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 23:26

As they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

MEDITATION

Jesus must have been completely exhausted and so the soldiers took the first unlucky person they could find and told him to carry the cross. So too, in everyday life, the cross, in many different forms – whether as sickness or a serious accident, the death of a loved one or the loss of work – falls upon us, often unexpectedly. We see in this only a stroke of bad luck, or at worst, a tragedy.

Jesus, however, said to his disciples, "if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24). These are not easy words; in fact, as far as real life is concerned, they are the most difficult words in the entire Gospel. Our whole being, everything within us, rebels against these words.

Jesus, however, goes on to say, "For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 16:25). Let us stop for a moment and reflect on the words: "for my sake". Here we see the very essence of Jesus' claim, his self-awareness and the demands he makes of us. Jesus is at the heart of everything, he is the Son of God who is one with God the Father (cf. Jn 10:30), he is the one Saviour (cf. Acts 4:12).

In effect, what seemed at first to be merely a stroke of bad luck or a tragedy not infrequently is shown to be a door which opens in our lives, leading to a greater good. But it is not always like this: many times, in this world, tragedies remain simply painful failures. Here again Jesus has something to tell us: after the cross, he rose from the dead, and he rose as the firstborn among many brethren (cf. Rom 8:29; 1Cor 15:20). His cross can not be separated from his resurrection. Only by believing in the resurrection can we meaningfully advance along the way of the cross.

All:

Pater noster...

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?

SIXTH STATION
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 53:2-3

He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised and we esteemed him not.

MEDITATION

When Veronica wiped the face of Jesus with a cloth, that face must certainly not have been attractive, it was a disfigured face. And yet that face could not leave one indifferent, it was disturbing. It might provoke mockery and contempt, but also compassion, and even love, a desire to offer assistance. Veronica is the symbol of these emotions.

However disfigured, the face of Jesus nonetheless remains the face of the Son of God. It is a face marred by us, by the endless accumulation of human malice. But it is also a face marred for us, a face which expresses the loving sacrifice of Jesus and mirrors the infinite mercy of God the Father.

In the suffering face of Jesus we also see another accumulation: that of human suffering. And so Veronica's gesture of pity becomes a challenge to us, an urgent summons. It becomes a gentle but insistent demand not to turn away but to look with our own eyes at those who suffer, whether close at hand or far away. And not merely to look, but also to help. Tonight's Way of the Cross will not be fruitless, if it leads us to practical acts of love and active solidarity.

All:

Pater noster...

Quis non posset contristari,
piam matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?

SEVENTH STATION
Jesus falls the second time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Book of Psalms 41:6-10

My foes are speaking evil against me. 'How long before he dies and his name be forgotten?' They come to visit me and speak empty words, their hearts full of malice, they spread it abroad. My enemies whisper together against me. They all weigh up the evil which is on me; some deadly thing has fastened upon him, he will not rise again from where he lies. Thus even my friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has turned against me.

MEDITATION

Once more Jesus falls beneath the cross. He was, of course, physically exhausted and mortally wounded at heart. He felt the burden of his rejection by those who from the outset had obstinately opposed his mission. He felt the burden, in the end, of his rejection by the very people who seemed so full of admiration and even enthusiasm for him. Thus, gazing at the city which he loved so much, Jesus had cried out: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" (Mt 23:37). He felt the awful burden of his betrayal by Judas, his abandonment by the disciples at the hour of greatest trial; and in particular he felt the burden of his triple denial by Peter.

We know too that he was burdened down by the incalculable weight of our sins, the accumulation of offenses that down the centuries has accompanied the history of humanity.

And so, let us ask God, humbly yet confidently: Father, rich in mercy, help us not to add more weight to the cross of Jesus. In the words of Pope John Paul II, who died five years ago tonight: "the limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately Divine Mercy" (Memory and Identity, p. 60)

All:

Pater noster...

Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum.

EIGHTH STATION
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem who weep for him

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to Luke 23:27–29, 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 behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!'…For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

MEDITATION

It is Jesus who takes pity on the women of Jerusalem, and on all of us. Even as he carries the cross, Jesus remains the man who had compassion on the crowd (cf. Mk 8:2), who broke into tears before the tomb of Lazarus (cf. Jn 11:35), and who proclaimed blessed those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (cf. Mt 5:4).

In this way Jesus shows that he alone truly knows the heart of God the Father and can make it known to us: "No one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him" (Mt 11:27).

From earliest times humanity has asked, often with anguish, how God relates to us. Is it with providential care, sovereign indifference, or even disdain and hatred? No certain answer can be given to this kind of question if we merely rely on the resources of our understanding, our experience, or even our heart.

That is why Jesus – in his life and his teaching, his cross and his resurrection – is by far the greatest event in all human history, the light that illumines our destiny.

All:

Pater noster ...

Eia mater, fons amoris,
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

NINTH STATION
Jesus falls the third time

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the second letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 5:19–21

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation; … We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

MEDITATION

The real reason why Christ fell repeatedly was not simply his physical sufferings, or human betrayal, but the will of the Father. That mysterious will, humanly incomprehensible, yet infinitely good and generous, whereby Jesus became "sin for us". All the sins of humanity were placed upon him and that mysterious exchange took place whereby we sinners became "the righteousness of God".

In our efforts to identify ourselves completely with Jesus as he walks and falls beneath the cross, it is right for us to have feelings of repentance and sorrow. But stronger still should be the feeling of gratitude welling up in our hearts.

Yes, Lord, you have redeemed us, you have set us free; by your cross you have made us righteous before God. You have also joined us so deeply to yourself that we too have been made, in you, God's children, members of his household and his friends. Thank you Lord; may gratitude towards you be the distinguishing mark of our lives.

All:

Pater noster...

Fac ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum,
ut sibi complaceam.

TENTH STATION
Jesus is stripped of his garments

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to John 19: 23–24

The soldiers took the garments of Jesus and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."

MEDITATION

Jesus is stripped of his garments. We have reached the final act of the tragedy, begun with the arrest in the Garden of Olives, in which Jesus is stripped of his dignity as a human being, much less than as God's Son.

Jesus appears naked before the eyes of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the eyes of all humanity. In a profound way it is right that this should be so. For he divested his very self in order to sacrifice himself for our sake. So the gesture of being stripped of his garments is is also the fulfilment of a prophecy of Holy Scripture.

As we look upon Jesus naked on the cross, we feel deep within us a compelling need to look upon our own nakedness, to stand spiritually naked before ourselves, but first of all before God and before our brothers and sisters in humanity. We need to be stripped of the pretence of appearing better than we are, and to seek to be sincere and transparent.

The way of acting that, perhaps more than any other, provoked Jesus's disdain was hypocrisy. How often did he tell his disciples not to act "as the hypocrites do" (Mt 6:2, 5, 16). Or say to those who impugned his good deeds: "Woe to you, hypocrites" (Mt 23:13, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29).

Lord Jesus, hanging naked on the cross, grant that I too may stand naked before you.

All:

Pater noster...

Sancta mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.

ELEVENTH STATION
Jesus is nailed to the cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to Mark 15:25-27

And it was the third hour, when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.

MEDITATION

Jesus is nailed to the cross. An appalling form of torture. And as he hangs on the cross, many of the passersby mock him and even try to provoke him: "He saved others; he cannot save himself! … He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said: 'I am the Son of God!'" (Mt 27:42-43). Not only is his person mocked, but also his saving mission, the mission that Jesus was bringing to fulfilment upon the cross.

Yet deep within, Jesus knows an incomparably greater suffering, which causes him to cry out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34). These are the opening words of a Psalm which concludes with a reaffirmation of complete trust in God. At the same time they are words to be taken completely seriously, as expressing the greatest test to which Jesus was subjected.

How many times, when we are tested, we think that we have been forgotten or abandoned by God. Or are even tempted to decide that God does not exist.

The Son of God, who drank his bitter chalice to the dregs and then rose from the dead, tells us, instead, with his whole self, by his life and by his death, that we ought to trust in God. We can believe him.

All:

Pater noster...

Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati
poenas mecum divide.

TWELFTH STATION
Jesus dies on the cross

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to John 19:28-30

After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst." A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

MEDITATION

Whenever death comes after a painful illness, it is customary to say with some relief, "He is no longer suffering". In a certain sense, these words also apply to Jesus. Yet these words are all too limited and superficial in the face of any person's death, and even more so in the face of the death of that man who is the Son of God.

When Jesus dies, the veil of the Temple of Jerusalem is torn in two and other signs occur, causing the Roman centurion to exclaim as he stands guard beneath the cross, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (cf. Mt 27:51-54).

In truth, nothing is as dark and mysterious as the death of the Son of God, who with God the Father is the source and fullness of life. Yet at the same time, nothing shines so brightly, for here the glory of God shines forth, the glory of all-powerful and merciful Love.

In the face of Jesus' death, our response is the silence of adoration. In this way we entrust ourselves to him, we place ourselves in his hands, and we beg him that nothing, in our life or in our death, may ever separate us from him (cf. Rom 8:38-39).

All:

Pater noster...

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
morientem desolatum,
cum emisit spiritum.  

THIRTEENTH STATION
Jesus is taken down from the cross and placed in the arms of his Mother

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to John 2:1-5

There was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

MEDITATION

Now the hour of Jesus has been completed and Jesus is taken down from the cross. Ready to receive him are the arms of his Mother. After having tasted the loneliness of death to the bitter end, Jesus immediately rediscovers – in his lifeless body – the strongest and sweetest of his human bonds, the warmth of his Mother's affection. The greatest artists – we need but think for example of Michelangelo's Pietà – have been able to intuit and express the depth and indestructible strength of this bond.

As we remember that Mary, standing at the foot of the cross, also became the mother of each one of us, we ask her to put into our hearts the feelings that unite her to Jesus. To be authentic Christians, to follow Jesus truly, we need to be bound to him with all that is within us: our minds, our will, our hearts, our daily choices great and small.

Only in this way can God stand at the centre of our lives. Only in this way can he be something more than a source of consolation which is ever close when needed, but without interfering with the concrete interests governing our daily lives and decisions.

All:

Pater noster...

Fac me vere tecum flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.

FOURTEENTH STATION
Jesus is placed in the tomb

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From the Gospel according to Matthew 27:57-60

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.

MEDITATION

With the stone that seals the entrance to the tomb, it all appears to be over. Yet could the Author of life remain a prisoner of death? This is why the tomb of Jesus, from that time forward, has not only been the object of the most intense devotion, but has also provoked the deepest divisions of minds and hearts. Herein lies the parting of the ways between those who believe in Christ and those who do not, even if many of them consider him an extraordinary man.

Soon that tomb would remain empty, and it has never been possible to find a convincing explanation for the fact of its being empty other than the one given by the witnesses to Jesus's resurrection from the dead, from Mary Magdalen to Peter and the other Apostles.

Let us halt in prayer before the tomb of Jesus, asking God for the eyes of faith so that we too can become witnesses of his resurrection. Thus may the way of the cross become for us too a wellspring of life.

All:

Pater noster...

Quando corpus morietur,
fac ut animæ donetur
paradisi gloria.
Amen.

ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER
AND APOSTOLIC BLESSING

The Holy Father addresses those present.

At the end of his address, the Holy Father imparts the Apostolic Blessing:

BLESSING

V/. Dominus vobiscum.
R/. Et cum spiritu tuo.

V/. Sit nomen Domini benedictum.
R/. Ex hoc nunc et usque in sæculum.

V/. Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R/. Qui fecit cælum et terram.

V/. Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus,
Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus.
R/. Amen.

CANTO

R. Crux fidelis, inter omnes arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert, flore, fronde, germine!
Dulce lignum dulci clavo dulce pondus sustinens.

1. Pange, lingua, gloriosi prœlium certaminis,
Et super Crucis trophæo dic triumphum nobilem,
Qualiter Redemptor orbis immolatus vicerit. R.

2. De parentis protoplasti fraude factor condolens,
Quando pomi noxialis morte morsu corruit,
Ipse lignum tunc notavit, damna ligni ut solveret. R.

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