Saturday, March 30, 2024

Prayer Overcomes the Darkness of Death

In his Good Friday meditations for “The Way of the Cross,” the Pope gave us much to ponder, even as we await the mystery of the resurrection. In particular, he reminded us of prayer as essential to life and death, to the whole horizon of our humanity—prayer as trust in Jesus who saves and fashions anew our humanity.

Trust, trust, trust, in the greatest darkness, beyond the most awful of tragedies, beyond the blackest holes of incomprehensibility that open in front of us, beyond all we accomplish in toil and struggle, and all our sins, failures, incompetence, weakness, all the pain that never goes away… Trust, hold onto Jesus, pray and never give up. The Holy Father says, “persevering prayer bears fruit and overcomes even the darkness of death. Love never goes unanswered, but always grants new beginnings.”

Elsewhere in yesterday’s meditations, Pope Francis prays to Jesus in reference to the moment on the Cross when he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—“Jesus, this prayer of yours is unexpected: you cry out to the Father in your abandonment. You, the eternal Son, dispense no answers from on high, but simply ask why? At the height of your passion, you experience the distance of the Father; you no longer even call him ‘Father’, but ‘God’, almost as if you can no longer glimpse his face. Why? So that you can plunge into the abyss of our pain. You did this for my sake, so that when I see only darkness, when I experience the collapse of my certainties and the wreckage of my life, I will no longer feel alone, but realize that you are there beside me. You, the God of closeness, experienced abandonment so that I need no longer fall prey to feelings of isolation and abandonment. When you asked the question why, you did it in the words of a Psalm. You made even the utmost experience of desolation into a prayer. As we too must do, amid the storms of life. Rather than keeping silent, closed in on ourselves, we should cry out to you. Glory to you, Lord Jesus, for you did not flee from my pain and confusion, but tasted them to the full. Praise and glory to you, for you bridged every distance in order to draw near to those who were farthest from you. In my own dark night, when I keep asking why, I find you, Jesus, the light that shines in the darkness. And in the plea of all those who are alone, rejected, oppressed or abandoned, I find you, my God. May I always recognize your presence and turn to you in love.”