God is Weeping for the Victims of the Ukraine War: Pope Francis
Pope Francis pictured at the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16, 2022. Daniel Ibanez/CNA
By Courtney Mares
Vatican City, 23 April, 2022 / 4:00 pm (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis said on Saturday that "we must ask for the grace to cry" with Our Lady for the lives destroyed by the Ukraine war and the other miseries of our time, like "the children discarded before they are even born.”
In a meeting on April 23 with the Catholic community affiliated with the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Tears in northern Italy, the pope said that Mary’s tears are “a sign of God’s weeping for the victims of the war” in Ukraine.
Pope Francis underlined that the war is “destroying not only Ukraine,” but it is destroying “all the nations involved in the war.”
“Because war not only destroys the people who are defeated, no, it also destroys the victor … War destroys everyone,” he said in Paul VI Hall.
“We have entrusted our prayer to the Immaculate Heart, and we are certain that our Mother has accepted it and intercedes for peace because she is the Queen of Peace,” the pope added.
In a speech to 2,800 pilgrims from Italian parishes close to the 16th century shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Treviglio, Italy, the pope said that “our civilization, our times, have lost the [Biblical] sense of weeping.”
He said: “We must ask for the grace to cry in front of the things we see … not only wars … but the discarded, the elderly who are discarded, the children discarded before they are even born.”
“The miseries of our time should make us cry and we need to cry. …We must allow ourselves to be moved,” he added.
Pope Francis said that “Mary’s tears” intercede and help those with hearts of stone who have forgotten how to cry.
“Mary's tears were transformed by the grace of Christ, as her whole life, her whole being, everything in Mary is transfigured in perfect union with the Son, with his mystery of salvation. Therefore when Mary cries, her tears are a sign of God's compassion,” the pope said.
“And for this reason Our Lady's tears are a sign of the compassion of God, who always forgives us with this compassion; they are a sign of Christ's pain for our sins, for the evil that afflicts humanity, especially the little ones and the innocent, who are those who suffer,” he said.
The pope also spoke about the war in Ukraine in a meeting with the FIAT Association on Saturday. The FIAT Association was founded by Belgian Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens in 1987.
“The tragedies we are experiencing at the moment, particularly the war in the territory of Ukraine so close to us, remind us of the urgency of a civilization of love. In the eyes of our brothers and sisters, victims of the horrors of war, we read the profound and pressing need for a life marked by dignity, peace and love,” Pope Francis told the group.
“Like the Virgin Mary, we must continually cultivate the missionary spirit to make ourselves close to those who suffer, opening our hearts to them. We must walk with them, fight with them for their human dignity and spread the perfume of God's love everywhere.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.
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