Posted by: sisterbernice | April 2, 2010

Good Friday Meditation

If I have any visitors I am sure you will flee as I continue to quote and pray with Pope Benedict. I believe him to be honest and genuine. He speaks the language and ideas that have historically brought people to and kept them in the church. The abuse scandal is not his fault and I do believe he has started the healing – that is today’s upheaval isn’t it?  Truth is beginning to win. He can’t heal it alone. If one pays attention what the Pope has been doing is “strengthening his brothers”. I don’t have the biblical citation for this phrase but it is the task Jesus gave to Peter – isn’t it. One gets the sense that Ratzinger was pretty alone at the Vatican trying to do something. And since being Pope he hasn’t dodged it-has he? Not only that – he has gotten the bishops to own up – a few at a time. The Pope needs our prayers and help. In his time of need, I will not flee, will not run back. So I have reprinted at the very end is the Pope’s meditation on Veronica/Bernice wiping Christ’s face on his Way to the Cross. It is my task too. I dare the reader to read the Pope’s words, in fact, all of the 2005 meditations and not be moved. I ask you to consider – is this a man who doesn’t care? See the video in this link too from 2006, many will just say – oh they are just words – so is our justice system – words are powerful:

As you can tell, I’ve read all week all the disturbing news and there is only one conclusion. The Pope is hated and the Church is hated. To what end? You can’t kill God, you can’t kill Christ, we already did that. You can’t kill Peter – we did that too. You can’t kill the message or rewrite the Bible no matter how hard you try. If God exists, he is God. I believe God exists. I have never understood why others hate Catholics and the Pope, in particular this Pope. For the message of Catholicism, of Christ, is – there is a God, you are a child of God, you are loved – love in return. How can one hate love – infinite merciful love? why wouldn’t you want to work to establish a relationship with the One who is this reality?

Today is Good Friday, the Church has another cross to bear, will we help pick it up? Will we love those who were hurt? Will we heal? Will we love the Church? Will we heal it? Will we love the bishops who were clueless, more interested in their careers, preoccupied by other details of office? etc.? Will we love the perpetrators? Such a hard request.

Does God care any less for them? The Lord looked at Peter after he denied him and Peter wept. The Lord still loved him. He understood. He forgave.
Forgiving is so hard to do. Anger is so justified here that to even talk about forgiving is difficult. But forgiving, not forgetting, is the only thing that will heal. It’s an act of love that is more powerful when the hurt is so horrible. The Lord forgave them with his last words. He forgave his murderers and in doing so redeemed us all. How powerful it can be as individuals to heal ourselves by forgiving.

And so I pray that the Victims will forgive us all. I pray they forgive their perpetrator. I pray the forgive the Church. I pray they forgive their parents, professionals and other adults who stood by and did nothing. I pray this because only they have the power to redeem us as they were the innocent lambs.

Lord, please move the hearts of the victims toward forgiveness. Help us all realize their pain and sacrifice and suffering are part of the Church’s pilgrammage throughout the march of historical time. Help them read the truth in Pope Benedict’s words and join in these words of prayer to you. Help them to see that not all the news “is fit to print”, in fact, it re-victimizes them in the name of a false, hollow justice.

Let us pray:  Our Father, Who Art in Heaven Hallowed be they name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trepass agianst us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Some of Ratzinger’s and the Vatican’s words on the topic:
Although buried in here and he wasn’t the author but he committee chair- the Cathecism speaks to this under rape:

Holy See Resources:

My reflection/meditation today as we make our Way of the Cross:

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. 53:2-3

He had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

From the Book of Psalms. 27:8-9

You have said, “Seek my face”. My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek”. Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation.


“Your face, Lord, do I seek. Hide not your face from me” (Ps 27:8-9). Veronica – Bernice, in the Greek tradition – embodies the universal yearning of the devout men and women of the Old Testament, the yearning of all believers to see the face of God. On Jesus’ Way of the Cross, though, she at first did nothing more than perform an act of womanly kindness: she held out a facecloth to Jesus. She did not let herself be deterred by the brutality of the soldiers or the fear which gripped the disciples. She is the image of that good woman, who, amid turmoil and dismay, shows the courage born of goodness and does not allow her heart to be bewildered. “Blessed are the pure in heart”, the Lord had said in his Sermon on the Mount, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). At first, Veronica saw only a buffeted and pain-filled face. Yet her act of love impressed the true image of Jesus on her heart: on his human face, bloodied and bruised, she saw the face of God and his goodness, which accompanies us even in our deepest sorrows. Only with the heart can we see Jesus. Only love purifies us and gives us the ability to see. Only love enables us to recognize the God who is love itself.


Lord, grant us restless hearts, hearts which seek your face. Keep us from the blindness of heart which sees only the surface of things. Give us the simplicity and purity which allow us to recognize your presence in the world. When we are not able to accomplish great things, grant us the courage which is born of humility and goodness. Impress your face on our hearts. May we encounter you along the way and show your image to the world.


Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cælo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.

Pro peccatis suæ gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis
et flagellis subditum.


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