· At the end of the Via Crucis at the Colosseum, Pope Francis prays for Christians persecuted before the eyes of an indifferent world and remembers that the Cross is the way to the resurrection ·
Good Friday was focused on prayer for Christians persecuted around the world. First in the Vatican Basilica, where in the afternoon the Pope presided at the celebration of the Passion of the Lord, and then at the Colosseum, where that night he led the Way of the Cross, his prayer resounded for all believers who are suffering violence around the world. The following is a translation of the Pope's prayer at the Colosseum, which he recited in Italian.
O Christ Crucified and Victorious, Your Via Crucis is the summation of your life; it is the icon of your obedience to the will of the Father; it is the realization of your infinite love for us sinners; it is the proof of your mission; it is the definitive fulfillment of Revelation and salvation history. The weight of your Cross frees us of all our burdens.
In your obedience to the will of the Father, we realize our rebellion and disobedience. In you - sold, betrayed and crucified by your own people and loved ones - we see our daily betrayals and our habitual infidelities. In your innocence, the Immaculate Lamb, we see our culpability. In your face – struck, spit on and disfigured – we see all the brutality of our sins. In the cruelty of your Passion, we see the cruelty of our hearts and of our actions. In your experience of being “abandoned”, we see all those who have been abandoned by their relatives, by society, left without care and solidarity. In your body – stripped bare, pierced and torn apart – we see the bodies of our brothers and sisters abandoned along the streets, disfigured by our negligence and indifference. In your thirst, Lord, we see the thirst of your merciful Father who in You wanted to embrace, forgive and save all of humanity. In your, Divine Love, we see our brothers and sisters who are still being persecuted, decapitated and crucified for their faith in You, before our very eyes and often with our complicit silence.
Impress, Lord, in our hearts the sentiments of faith, hope, love and sorrow for our sins. Lead us to repent for our sins which crucified you. Lead us to transform our words of conversion into a conversion of life and deeds. Lead us to guard within us the living memory of your disfigured Face, so as never to forget the terrible price you paid for our freedom. Jesus Crucified, strengthen in us faith so as not to crumble in the face of temptation; revive in us hope so as to go astray with the seductions of the world; guard charity in us so as not to be fooled by corruption and by worldliness. Teach us that the Cross is the way to the Resurrection. Teach us that Good Friday is the road to an Easter of light; teach us that God never forgets his children and never tires of forgiving us and of embracing us with his infinite mercy. Teach us, also, to never tire of asking for forgiveness, of believing in the limitless mercy of the Father.
Soul of Christ, sanctify us.
Body of Christ, save us.
Blood of Christ, inebriate us.
Water from the side of Christ, wash us.
Passion of Christ, strengthen us.
O good Jesus, hear us.
Within your wounds, hide us.
Never let us be separated from you.
From the malignant enemy, defend us.
At the hour of death, call us;
and bid us come to you.
That with your saints we may praise you
forever and ever.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 21, 2019
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