Pope Benedict presided over the Way of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum today.
The meditations this year were written by an Augustian nun, Sister Maria Rita Piccione, OSA. She's the President of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Federation of Augustinian Monasteries in Italy.
In the meditation on the fourth station, Jesus meets his Mother
, Sister Maria Rita offers an interesting perspective on "standing still".
St. John shows us Jesus’ Mother standing beneath his cross ... And yet this "standing" of his Mother at the cross is truly an encounter in the most profound sense of the word. The seemingly static verb – "to stand" – actually expresses deep inner movement and vitality.
It is the intense movement of prayer joined to tranquil acquiescence. To pray is let oneself be caught up in the loving and true gaze of God, who reveals us to ourselves and sends us forth on mission.
After the meditation, the prayer offers a reminder of the importance of patience:
When our plans and expectations fall apart or seem doomed to failure, and make us flee in desperation, you recall us to the strength found in waiting. We have indeed forgotten the power of standing still as an expression of prayer! Come, Spirit of Truth, be the "cry of our heart" which incessantly and inexpressibly stands with confidence in the presence of God!
In this face-paced society, where we are being pulled in every direction, perhaps we should take a moment to stand still and consider the Cross.
At the conclusion of the Way of the Cross, the Holy Father gave a brief discourse and noted that the cross is not the banner of the victory of death, but instead described it as "the luminous sign of love":
...of God’s immense love, of something that we could never have asked, imagined or expected: God bent down over us, he lowered himself, even to the darkest corner of our lives, in order to stretch out his hand and draw us to himself, to bring us all the way to himself.
Read the Holy Father's address here
Read the Zenit English translation of the Way of Cross meditations here
, or visit the Vatican's page for the Way of the Cross here
The Holy Father's Easter Triduum activities for Good Friday have concluded. We have entered, as the Pope said, a night full of silence but full of hope.
Join us Saturday, April 23rd, for the Easter Vigil live at 3:00pm ET/noon PT.
CNS photo/Paul Haring: Pope Benedict XVI holds the cross at the conclusion of last year's Way of the Cross service at Rome's ancient Colosseum.