VATICAN CITY, APRIL 20, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address John Paul II wrote as a conclusion to Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum. He did not deliver it, preferring instead to speak spontaneously about the cross of Christ, salvation of the world. For the Holy See’s archives, however, the written text is considered as the text read.
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1. “Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum” (“We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by the Holy Cross you have redeemed the world”). With your Cross! In each station of the Way of the Cross we have sung this invocation which not only expresses the meaning of Good Friday, but also the very mystery of our salvation. He has redeemed us with the Cross and has opened the gates of eternal happiness for us.
At the end of this day of penance and prayer, we remain in silent contemplation of God, who sacrificed his Son, his only Son, for the salvation of the world.
The Way of the Cross has made us relive the passion of Christ, passion that continues mysteriously in our time and until the end of time.
2. How many brothers and sisters of ours are reliving in their own flesh the drama of Calvary! How numerous are the forgotten “via crucis”! I think of the tragic images of violence, wars, conflicts, which daily come to us from so many places; of the anguish and pain of individuals and peoples of all continents; of the death from hunger and privations of thousands of adults and innocent children; it outrages human dignity, unfortunately perpetrated on occasions in the name of God.
Can we remain indifferent before this heartrending cry of pain that rises from so many parts of the planet?
3. With your cross, you redeemed the world. When human beings fall into impotent silence in face of these disquieting questions, the answer is provided by faith. It is an answer that is present in the very event we commemorate today: the death of Christ. Indeed, while the night is still dark, one already perceives the dawn of a new day, the day of resurrection. Death does not have the final victory. God has the last word, who on the third day will resurrect his only-begotten Son, immolated for us.
4. “Stabat Mater dolorosa iuxta crucem lacrimosa.” You were at the foot of the cross, sorrowful Mother, hope and support of all men, pilgrims on earth. Under the cross, you also lived the silence and abandonment, but your faith did not waver.
Faithful Virgin, help us to remain in prayerful contemplation of the mystery that we commemorate today. Help us to embrace the crucified Christ with love, the most precious treasure the Almighty has given us.
“Adoramus Te, Christe, et benedicimus Tibi, quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.” Your cross, Christ, is our salvation.
[Translation by ZENIT]