I would like to invite you to a common spiritual visit to the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Let’s approach the beautiful sculpture of the Pieta by Michael the Archangel. Let us contemplate the mother who holds in her arms the body of her son, tortured, humiliated, covered with spit and traces of the whip strikes. His hands are pierced and his forehead is torn with a crown of thorns. Yet a mother holds her son’s body with great gentleness and infinite delicacy. Her young mother’s face is focused, painful and calm at the same time. Without understanding, she adores the son, so beautiful, though mocked, the son who is her God. Like Mary, let us recognize the face of Christ in the disgraced face of the Church. Neither our sins, nor our betrayals, nor our Luke warmness, nor our infidelities can distort the Church. It remains the exquisite beauty of the saints. He remains young as God’s youth. Let us be able to love the Church and embrace her with the gaze of faith with which Mary embraced the dead Jesus whom she held in her arms. Let us weep for the Church, let us suffer for the Church if we have to, but let us always treat her with that loving and Marian tenderness which Michelangelo’s work so aptly expresses.

Card. Robert Sarah

Excerpt from the book: “The evening is coming and the day is nigh”.