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Text for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday

Giulio Napolitano | Shutterstock

Anne-Marie Pelletier - published on 04/13/17

Raphael via Wikipedia Public Domain


Jesus and the Daughters of Jerusalem

From the Gospel according to Luke

A number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and your children… For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (23:27-28.31)


The tears that Jesus entrusts to the daughters of Jerusalem as an act of compassion, these tears of women are always present in this world.

They fall silently down their cheeks. And undoubtedly, even more often, they fall unseen in the heart, like the tears of blood spoken of by Catherine of Siena.

Not that women alone should weep, as if it were their lot to grieve, passive and helpless, as part of a history that men alone are called to write.

Their grief embraces all those tears shed quietly and without fanfare in a world where there is much to weep for. Tears of terror-stricken children and of those wounded on battlefields crying out for a mother, the tears of the sick and dying, alone on the threshold of the unknown. Tears of dismay falling on the face of this world, which was created on the first day for tears of joy, in the shared rejoicing of man and woman.

Etty Hillesum, that courageous woman of Israel who remained undaunted amid the firestorm of Nazi persecution, defended to the last the goodness of life. She whispers to us the secret that she grasped at the end of her road: that there are tears crying out for consolation on God’s own face, as he weeps for the misery of his children. Amid the hell in which the world had been plunged, she dared to say to God in her prayer: “I will try to help you!” What courage, at once so womanly and so divine!


Lord our God, God of tenderness and pity, God of utter love and faithfulness, teach us in happy times not to scorn the tears of the poor who cry to you and seek our help. Teach us not to pass them by with indifference. Teach us to have the courage to weep with them. Teach us also, in the night of our own sufferings, of our loneliness and disappointments, to hear the word of grace that you spoke to us on the mountain: “Blessed are those who weep, for they will be comforted” (Mt 5:4)

Pater noster 

Christ, put to death for our sins,
Christ, risen for our life,
We beg you, have mercy on us.

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