ROME — The parents of a young girl who was murdered contributed one of the Good Friday meditations for this year’s commemoration of Christ’s Way of the Cross led by Pope Francis.
“During that horrible summer our life as parents died together with that of our two daughters. One of them was murdered along with her closest friend by the blind violence of a ruthless man; the other, who miraculously survived, was forever deprived of her smile,” write the girl’s parents to accompany the second of 14 stations: “Jesus takes up his cross.”
“Ours was a life of sacrifices based on work and family,” the couple reflects. “We taught our children to respect others and to value serving the poor. We often ask ourselves: ‘Why did it happen to us, this evil which engulfed us?’ We find no peace. Nor is justice, in which we had always trusted, able to relieve these deep wounds: our condemnation to suffering will never end.”
“Time has not eased the weight of the cross placed upon our shoulders: we are unable to forget our daughter who is no longer with us,” they write. “We are elderly, more and more vulnerable and victims of the worst pain that can exist: surviving the death of a daughter.”
“This is difficult to say, but at the moment in which despair seems to take over, the Lord in different ways comes to meet us, giving us the grace to love one another as spouses, and to support one another, hard as it is,” they state.
“He invites us to keep the door of our home open to the poor and the despairing, welcoming whoever knocks, even if only for a bowl of soup,” they add. “The commandment to perform acts of charity is for us a kind of salvation: we do not want to surrender to evil.”
“God’s love is truly capable of renewing life because, before us, his Son Jesus underwent human suffering so as to experience true compassion,” they conclude.
The pope ordinarily celebrates the stations of the cross on Good Friday at the Roman Coliseum, but this year, due to the coronavirus lockdown, he live-streamed the ritual from within the Vatican.
This year, Pope Francis invited fourteen people to write meditations on Christ’s Passion, bringing it to bear on their own situations. He invited five prisoners, the parents of a murder victim, the daughter of a man serving a life sentence, a prison teacher, a civil magistrate, the mother of a prisoner, a catechist, a volunteer religious brother, a prison guard and a priest who was accused of sexual abuse and then finally acquitted after eight years in the justice system.
Each of the reflections throws light on how God is often to work miracles in the lives of those who share in his cross, sometimes as a just retribution for evil they have done and other times as the innocent victims of others’ crimes.
The entire set of meditations can be found here.