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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

Eighth Station
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Walwyn | Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

(Meditation by the daughter of a man sentenced to life imprisonment)

There followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us’” (Lk 23:27-30).

How many times, as the daughter of someone in prison, have I been asked: “You love your father: do you ever think about the pain he inflicted on his victims?”. Over these years I have never failed to answer: “Of course, it is impossible for me not to think about it”. But then I ask them this question: “Have you ever thought that, of all the victims of my father’s action, I was the first? For twenty-eight years I have been serving the sentence of growing up without a father”. For all these years I have lived with anger, restlessness, sadness: his absence is a heavy burden to bear. I have travelled throughout Italy, from south to north, to stay with him: I know its cities not for their monuments but for the prisons I have visited. I seem to be like Telemachus when he went in search of his father Odysseus: my journey takes me to Italian prisons and loved ones.

Years ago, I missed love because I am the daughter of a prisoner, my mother fell prey to depression, the family collapsed. I was left, with my small salary, to bear the weight of this sorry story. Life forced me to become an adult without ever being a child. In my home, everything is a via crucis: Dad is one of those sentenced to life imprisonment. The day I got married, I dreamed of having him beside me: even then he was thinking of me, though hundreds of kilometres away. “Such is life!”, I say, to encourage myself. It’s true: there are parents who, out of love, learn to wait for their children to grow up. In my own case, for love, I wait for my Dad’s return.For people like us, hope is a duty.

Lord Jesus, we see your words to the women of Jerusalem as a warning to each of us. Those words invite us to conversion, to pass from a sentimental religiosity to a faith rooted in your word. We pray for those who are forced to bear the burden of shame, the suffering of abandonment, the lack of a presence. And for each of us, that the sins of parents may not fall on their children.

Let us pray.

O God, Father of all kindness, you do not abandon your children in the trials of life. Give us the grace to be able to rest in your love and to enjoy forever the consolation of your presence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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