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Monday 14 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Francisa de Paula de Jesus Isabel
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Text of the Stations of the Cross for 2020, led by Pope Francis

POPE VIA CRUCIS

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Aleteia - published on 04/09/20

Ninth Station
Jesus falls for the third time

Walwyn | Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

(Meditation by a prisoner)

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust – there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (Lam 3:27-32).

Falling down is never pleasant; but beyond the fact that it is unpleasant, falling over and over again becomes itself a kind of condemnation, as if one is no longer capable of remaining standing. As a man, I have fallen all too many times: I have also gotten up many times. In prison I often think about how many times a child falls to the ground before learning to walk: I am coming to think that these are preparations for all the times when we will fall as adults. As a child, my home was like a prison: I lived in fear of punishment, alternating between the melancholy of adults and the carefreeness of children. Of those years I remember Sister Gabriella, the only happy image: she was the only one who saw the best in me. Like Peter, I have sought and found many excuses for my mistakes: the strange fact is that a fragment of goodness always remained alive in me.

I became a grandfather in prison: I didn’t experience my daughter’s pregnancy. One day, I will tell my granddaughter the story of only the goodness I have found and not the evil I have done. I will tell her about the one who, when I lay fallen on the ground, brought me the mercy of God. In prison, the worst form of despair is to think that life no longer has meaning. It is the greatest suffering: of all the lonely people in the world, you feel like the loneliest. It is true that my life was shattered into a thousand pieces, but the wonderful thing is that those pieces can still be put together. It is not easy, but it is the only thing that still makes sense here.

Lord Jesus, you fall a third time to the ground and, when everyone thinks that this is the end, once again you get up. We confidently put ourselves in the hands of your Father and entrust to him all those who feel imprisoned in the abyss of their errors, so that they may be granted the strength to get up and the courage to let themselves be helped.

Let us pray.

O God, strength of those who hope in you, you give peace to those who follow your teachings. Sustain our staggering steps, raise us when we fall through our unfaithfulness. Pour the balm of consolation and the wine of hope on our wounds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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