St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. Afraid and lost like the disciples in the Gospel, “we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time essential and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.” In these words, standing in a deserted St. Peter’s Square with steady rain falling, Pope Francis opens his meditation during the extraordinary moment of prayer on the evening of March 27, 2020.
The Pope spoke to the City of Rome and the World through Facebook, YouTube, television, and radio. Four times he mentioned the same question of Jesus to his disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” He spoke of what the Lord is asking of us. He spoke words of encouragement, spoke words of hope. He said that Jesus calls us out to be converted, calls us to faith. He said that it is “a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.” He asks us to turn to Jesus and hand Him our fears. He urges us to anchor ourselves to the Cross of Christ for “by His cross, we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from His redeeming love.” He invites us to embrace the Lord in order to embrace hope.
He ended his meditation by entrusting all to the Lord, from the place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People, and Star of the stormy Sea. From the colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole World, he imparted God’s blessing. “Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies, and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).
Here are the links to the complete text of Pope Francis meditation: [ AR – DE – EN – ES – FR – IT – PT ]
The Pontiff spent some time praying in front of the two images that have accompanied the people of Rome for centuries – the ancient icon of Mary Salus Populi Romani and the miraculous crucifix kept in the church of San Marcello in Via del Corso.
After a short silent period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Pope Francis delivered an extraordinary blessing to the City and to the World.
As the Pope was speaking, Italy announced on its social media platforms its highest death tally, 969 in 24 hours. May their souls find rest in God and rest in Him eternally.
We continue to pray for one another as we brace this stormy weather of our lives without fear and with faith.
Does the Lord care about us? Yes he cares. All we have to do is trust in Him and have faith. This pandemic will end.