Text of Pope Francis’ Remarks for the Televised Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin on Holy Saturday

imageDear Brothers and Sisters,

I join all of you gathered before the Holy Shroud, and I thank the Lord who, through modern technology, offers us this possibility.

Even if it takes place in this way, we do not merely “look”, but rather we venerate by a prayerful gaze. I would go further: we are in fact looked upon upon ourselves. This face has eyes that are closed, it is the face of one who is dead, and yet mysteriously he is watching us, and in silence he speaks to us.

How is this possible? How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.

Let us therefore allow ourselves to be reached by this look, which is directed not to our eyes but to our heart. In silence, let us listen to what he has to say to us from beyond death itself. By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world to free us from its power.

This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest… And yet, at the same time, the face in the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty. It is as if it let a restrained but powerful energy within it shine through, as if to say: have faith, do not lose hope; the power of the love of God, the power of the Risen One overcomes all things.

So, looking upon the Man of the Shroud, I make my own the prayer which Saint Francis of Assisi prayed before the Crucifix:

Most High, glorious God, enlighten the shadows of my heart, and grant me a right faith, a certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may accomplish your holy and true command.

Amen.

Source for text and photograph: The Telegraph (Hat tip: Joe Marino)

2 thoughts on “Text of Pope Francis’ Remarks for the Televised Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin on Holy Saturday”

  1. This is a very clever discourse of Pope Francis !

    I would like to underline these quotes : “This face has eyes that are CLOSED, it is the face of ONE WHO IS DEAD, and yet mysteriously he is watching us, and in silence he speaks to us.” Comment of mine: here on this blog, I mainly said the same thing over and over again to those who I call “the members of the supernatural fringe” ! The Shroud doesn’t show a glorious body of light but a dead man who suffered a great deal. In other words, this is a relic of the Passion of Christ, not a relic of his Resurrection.

    “This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love.” Comment of mine: Again, the Pope underline the fact that this is a relic of the Passion of Christ more than anything else and that it mainly show the extreme love of Christ for mankind, which is in fact, the most compelling revelation of the love of the Father for every one of his children!

    “By means of the Holy Shroud, the unique and supreme Word of God comes to us: Love made man, incarnate in our history; the merciful love of God who has taken upon himself all the evil of the world to free us from its power.” Comment of mine: This quote is extraordinary for me, because it’s one of the first time I hear a Pope doing a direct association between the Shroud and the Incarnation of God here on Earth, which is for me the most important thing the Shroud had to say to us! Effectively, for me, the Shroud is not a relic of the Resurrection, even though it is possible to detect some signs of that event by looking at this cloth; and beside being evidently a relic of the Passion of the Christ, I truly believe that the Shroud is first and foremost a relic of the Incarnation of God in our humanity and, therefore, should be meditated under this great light, which is something often forgotten in the pro-Shroud world where people tend to always put the focus on the Passion, death and, more than anything else, on the Resurrection of Christ. But the simple fact that God accepted to take a real body like anyone else and live here on Earth is very telling on who he really is, which is not the God of Talion that the Jews of Jesus time had in mind, but instead a God who is Love and Mercy AND NOTHING ELSE.

    “So, looking upon the Man of the Shroud, I make my own the prayer which Saint Francis of Assisi prayed before the Crucifix…” Comment of mine: This link made by the Pope between the Shroud and the crucifix is also an evident sign that, for him, this relic is mainly a relic of the Passion of Christ instead of being a relic of the Resurrection of Christ, and as he said earlier when he mention the peaceful aspect of the face of the Shroud man, we can see something of the confidence of Jesus for his Father, even during this very painful event up until the moment of his death.

    In my mind, this is a great discourse of the Pope because he kept his feet on the ground, while focusing on the most important aspects of that relic!

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