April 14, 2001
volume 12, no. 104


  On Good Friday in 2000, the Holy Father led the Via Crucis meditations with his own words while leading the faithful on the traditional Papal Way of the Cross. His deep spirituality, renewed by a spontaneous visit to Mount Calvary, within the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre during his "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land last year is an inspiration we want to share with our readers.

A Plenary Indulgence is attached to this devotion according to article 194 of the Raccolta.

      Stabat Mater:

        Let me mingle tears with you,
        mourning Him Who mourned for me,
        all the days that I may live.

14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

    We adore you, O Lord, and we praise You. Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.
    (genuflect or make the sign of the cross)

        MEDITATION: Lord Jesus, when I see the great stone sealing Your tomb, I feel alone and abandoned. Even though You sometimes seem distant or absent in my life, help me always to believe in Your closeness and loving presence.

        "He was crucified, died and was buried..." The lifeless body of Christ has been laid in the tomb. But the stone of the tomb is not the final seal on His work. The last word belongs not to falsehood, hatred and violence. The last word will be spoken by Love, which is stronger than death.

        "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). The tomb is the last stage of Christ's dying through the whole course of His earthly life; it is the sign of His supreme sacrifice for us and for our salvation.

        Very soon this tomb will become the first proclamation of praise and exaltation of the Son of God in the glory of the Father. "He was crucified, died and was buried,.., on the third day he rose from the dead." Once the lifeless body of Jesus is laid in the tomb, at the foot of Golgotha, the Church begins the vigil of Holy Saturday. In the depths of her heart, Mary stores and ponders the Passion of her Son; the women agree to meet on the morning of the day after the Sabbath, in order to anoint Christ's body with aromatic ointments; the disciples gather in the seclusion of the Upper Room, waiting for the Sabbath to pass.

        This vigil will end with the meeting at the tomb, the empty tomb of the Savior. Then the tomb, the silent witness of the Resurrection, will speak. The stone rolled back, the inner chamber empty, the cloths on the ground, this will be what John sees when he comes to the tomb with Peter: "He saw and he believed" (John 20:8). And with him the Church believed, and from that moment she never grows weary of communicating to the world this fundamental truth of her faith: "Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:20).

        The empty tomb is the sign of the definitive victory of truth over falsehood, of good over evil, of mercy over sin, of life over death. The empty tomb is the sign of the hope which "does not deceive" (Romans 5:5). "[Our] hope is full of immortality" (cf. Wisdom 3:4).


        Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, You were drawn by the Father from the darkness of death to the light of a new life in glory. Grant that the sign of the empty tomb may speak to us and to future generations and become a wellspring of living faith, generous love, and unshakeable hope. To You, O Jesus, Whose presence, hidden and victorious, fills the history of the world, be honor and glory for ever and ever.

    R. Amen.

    Stabat Mater:

    While my body here decays,
    may my soul Your goodness praise,
    safe in paradise with You.


    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

For the shorter meditative group of lessons on the full Stations of the Cross, see WAY OF THE CROSS

For previous meditative Stations composed by the Holy Father, see:
1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus willingly takes up His Cross
3. Jesus falls the First Time
4. Jesus meets His Blessed Mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the Second Time
8. Jesus comforts the woman of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the Third Time
10. Jesus is stripped of His garments and given gall to drink
11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
12. Jesus is crucified and dies for us on the Cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of His Blessed Mother

April 14, 2001
volume 12, no. 104
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