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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

The Fourteenth Station
Jesus is laid in the tomb

Walwyn | Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

(Meditation by a corrections officer)

It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Lk 23:54-56).

In my mission as a corrections officer, every day I experience first-hand the suffering of those who live in prison. It is not easy to be faced with someone who yielded to evil and inflicted immense harm on others and their lives. In prison, an attitude of indifference can create even further harm in the history of someone who has failed and is paying his debt to justice. A colleague, who was my mentor, frequently repeated: “Prison changes you: a good person can become a sadistic one. An evil person can become better”. The result also depends on me and a firm resolution is essential for achieving the goal of our work: that of offering another possibility to someone who did wrong. To attempt this, I cannot limit myself to opening and closing a cell, without doing this with a touch of humanity.

By respecting each person’s tempo, human relations can once more flourish little by little within this oppressive world. It happens through gestures, attitudes and words that can make a difference, even if spoken in a low voice. I am not ashamed to exercise the permanent diaconate in wearing the uniform of which I am proud. I know suffering and despair: I experienced them as a child. My small wish is to be a point of reference for those I encounter behind bars. I work hard to keep hope alive in people left to themselves, frightened at the thought of one day leaving and possibly being rejected yet again by society.

In prison, I remind them that, with God, no sin will ever have the last word.

Lord Jesus, once more you are in the hands of men, but this time, they are the loving hands of Joseph of Arimathea and some pious women from Galilee, who know that your body is precious. Their hands represent the hands of all who never tire of serving you and making visible the love of which human beings are capable. It is this love that makes us hope in the possibility of a better world. We need only be willing to let ourselves be met by the grace that comes from you. In prayer, we entrust to your Father, in a particular way, all prison guards and all those who work in various capacities in prisons.

Let us pray.

O God, eternal light and endless day, fill with your blessings those who devote themselves to your praise and to the service of those who suffer in the countless places of human pain and sorrow. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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