UP Catholic 05 27 2016 E Edition Page 12

BY ELISE HARRIS CNA/EWTN NEWS Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - During a prayer vigil earlier this month, for all of those in need of consolation, Pope Francis expressed that though we cry out in moments of difficulty, we are never alone in our suffering. His words of reassurance came after hearing various testimonies of suffer- ing at the Dry the Tears prayer vigil which was held as part of the Jubilee of Mercy. How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation, the Holy Father said. The bitterest tears, he noted, are those caused by human evil: the tears of those who have seen a loved one violently torn from them; the tears of frandparents, mothers and fathers, children; eyes that keep staring at the sunset and find it hard to see the dawn of a new day. However, Pope Francis stressed that in our pain, we are not alone, and noted that Jesus, too, knows what it means to weep for the loss of a loved one. Pointing to the passage in the Gos- pel of John when Christ weeps for the death of his friend Lazarus, the Holy Father noted that Christ sees Mary of Bethany weeping and nor can he hold back tears. He was deeply moved and began to weep. Jesus tears have unsettled many theologians over the centuries, he said, but even more they have bathed so many souls and been a balm to so much hurt. The vigil, marking the Ascension of the Lord, began with three testimonies alternated with biblical readings, in which the families who spoke recount- ed tragic stories of suffering, including loneliness, suicide, and religious persecution. After each testimo- ny a candle was lit in front of the reliquary of Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse, which was brought to Rome for the jubilee prayer vigil, and exposed for veneration. In his speech, Pope Francis noted that in moments of sadness, suffering, and illness, everyone looks for a word of consolation amid the anguish of persecution and grief. We sense a power- ful need for someone to be close and feel compassion for us. We experience what it means to be disori- ented, confused, more heartsick than we ever thought possible. We look around us with uncertainty, trying to see if we can find someone who really understands our pain, he said. Questions fill the minds of the suffering but frequently with- out answers, he said, explaining that reason alone is not enough to make sense of the profound grief of those who suffer, nor can it provide answers. At times like this, more than ever do we need the reasons of the heart, which alone can help us understand the mystery which embraces our lone- liness, Francis observed. If God could weep, then I too can weep, in the knowledge that he under- stands me, Pope Francis said, explain- ing that the tears of Christ serve as an antidote to my indifference before the suffering of my brothers and sisters. His tears teach me to make my own the pain of others, to share in the dis- couragement and sufferings of those experiencing painful situations, he said, adding that Christ's tears cannot fo without a response on the part of those who believe in him. As he con- soles, so we too are called to console. Francis noted how in moments of fear and dismay Christ always turned to his Father in prayer, adding that prayer is the medicine for our suffer- ing. In prayer, we too can feel Gods presence, which comforts us and gives us strength and hope. We too need the certainty that the Father hears us and comes to our aid. The love of God, poured into our hearts, allows us to say that when we love, nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from those we have loved, the Pope said. He concluded his meditation point- ing to a passage in the Letter to the Romans in which St. Paul says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The power of love, he said, turns suffering into the certainty of Christs victory, and our own in union with him, and into the hope that one day we will once more be together and will forever contemplate the face of the Blessed Trinity, the eternal wellspring of life and love. 12 May 27, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC TWILIGHT www.upcatholic.org No one is alone in their suffering, Pope Francis affirms DANIEL IBANEZ CNA Pope Francis speaking during the Dry the Eyes prayer vigil held at St. Peter Basillica earlier this month.

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