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Fourteenth Station of the Cross
Jesus is laid in the tomb

with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
(Pope Benedict XVI) Good Friday 2005, at the Colosseum in Rome

From the Gospel according to Matthew (27: 59-61)
Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre.

Jesus, disgraced and mistreated, is honorably buried in a new tomb. Nicodemus brings a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight, which gives off a precious scent. In the Son’s self-offering, as at his anointing in Bethany, we see an “excess” which evokes God’s generous and superabundant love. God offers himself unstintingly. If God’s measure is superabundance, then we for our part should consider nothing too much for God. This is the teaching of Jesus himself, in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:20). But we should also remember the words of Saint Paul, who says that God “through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ everywhere. We are the aroma of Christ” (2 Cor 2:14). Amid the decay of ideologies, our faith needs once more to be the fragrance which returns us to the path of life. At the very moment of his burial, Jesus’ words are fulfilled: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). Jesus is the grain of wheat which dies. From that lifeless grain of wheat comes forth the great multiplication of bread which will endure until the end of the world. Jesus is the bread of life which can satisfy superabundantly the hunger of all humanity and provide its deepest nourishment. Through his Cross and Resurrection, the eternal Word of God became flesh and bread for us. The mystery of the Eucharist already shines forth in the burial of Jesus.

Lord Jesus Christ, in your burial you have taken on the death of the grain of wheat. You have become the lifeless grain of wheat which produces abundant fruit for every age and for all eternity. From the tomb shines forth in every generation the promise of the grain of wheat which gives rise to the true manna, the Bread of Life, in which you offer us your very self. The eternal Word, through his Incarnation and death, has become a Word which is close to us: you put yourself into our hands and into our hearts, so that your word can grow within us and bear fruit. Through the death of the grain of wheat you give us yourself, so that we too can dare to lose our life in order to find it, so that we too can trust the promise of the grain of wheat. Help us grow in love and veneration for your Eucharistic mystery – to make you, the Bread of heaven, the source of our life. Help us to become your “fragrance”, and to make known in this world the mysterious traces of your life. Like the grain of wheat which rises from the earth, putting forth its stalk and then its ear, you could not remain enclosed in the tomb: the tomb is empty because he – the Father – “did not abandon you to the nether world, nor let your flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:31; Ps 16:10). No, you did not see corruption. You have risen, and have made a place for our transfigured flesh in the very heart of God. Help us to rejoice in this hope and bring it joyfully to the world. Help us to become witnesses of your resurrection.

Our Father ... While my body here decays, may my soul your goodness praise, safe in paradise with you. Amen.

14ª estación - Jesús es puesto en el sepulcro     
Meditaciones y Oraciones del Cardenal Joseph Ratzinger (Papa Benedicto XVI)

14ème station - Jésus est mis au tombeau       
Méditations et prières du Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pape Benoît XVI) au Colisée

Music: from 'Triduum - Contemporary Sacred Music' by David Bevan & Neil Wright.
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with Julian of Norwich      

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

In this love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation of our sins.  (1 John 4: 9-10)

Would you learn your Lord's meaning in this thing? Learn it well; Love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Only Love. And for what reason did he show you? For love. Hold on to this, and you will learn more of the same. But you will never, without end, learn in it any other meaning. So it was that I learned that love is our Lord's meaning. And I saw full surely in this, and in all that God created, in us and for us; that he loved us, and his love was never exhausted nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his works. And in this love he has made all things to profit us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had a beginning, but the love in which we were created in him was from without beginning; and in all this we shall see God, without end. May Jesus grant this by his grace. Amen. (Julian of Norwich - Ch 86)

I love you Jesus, my love, above all things; I repent with my whole heart for having offended you.
Never permit me to separate myself from you again.
Grant that I may love you always, then do with me as you will.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory be. 

with Pope St John Paul II in the Jubilee Year
Good Friday, 21 April 2000, at the Colosseum in Rome
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

“He was crucified, died and was buried...”
The lifeless body of Christ has been laid in the tomb. But the stone of the tomb is not the final seal on his work.
The last word belongs not to falsehood, hatred and violence.
The last word will be spoken by Love, which is stronger than death.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
The tomb is the last stage of Christ’s dying through the whole course of his earthly life; it is the sign of his supreme sacrifice for us and for our salvation.
Very soon this tomb will become the first proclamation of praise and exaltation of the Son of God in the glory of the Father.
“He was crucified, died and was buried,. . . on the third day he rose from the dead”.
Once the lifeless body of Jesus is laid in the tomb, at the foot of Golgotha, the Church begins the vigil of Holy Saturday.
In the depths of her heart, Mary stores and ponders the Passion of her Son;
the women agree to meet on the morning of the day after the Sabbath, in order to anoint Christ’s body with aromatic ointments;
the disciples gather in the seclusion of the Upper Room, waiting for the Sabbath to pass.
This vigil will end with the meeting at the tomb, the empty tomb of the Saviour.
Then the tomb, the silent witness of the Resurrection, will speak.
The stone rolled back, the inner chamber empty, the cloths on the ground,
this will be what John sees when he comes to the tomb with Peter:

“He saw and he believed” (Jn 20:8).
And with him the Church believed,
and from that moment she never grows weary of communicating to the world this fundamental truth of her faith:
“Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20).
The empty tomb is the sign of the definitive victory
of truth over falsehood,
of good over evil,
of mercy over sin,
of life over death.
The empty tomb is the sign of the hope which “does not deceive” (Rom 5:5).
“[Our] hope is full of immortality.”

Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ; vita dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus... illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte
et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exilium ostende.

Lord Jesus Christ,
by the power of the Holy Spirit, you were drawn by the Father
from the darkness of death to the light of a new life in glory.
Grant that the sign of the empty tomb may speak to us and to future generations
and become a wellspring of living faith, generous love, and unshakeable hope.
To you, O Jesus, whose presence, hidden and victorious,
fills the history of the world, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

with Papa San Giovanni Paolo II in 2003
- also in French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

From the Gospel according to Mark (15: 46-47)
Joseph of Arimathea, wrapped the body of Jesus in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

From the moment when man, as a result of sin, was driven away from the Tree of Life, the earth became a burial ground. With as many burial places as there are men. A great planet of tombs.
Close to Calvary there was a tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. In it, with Joseph's consent, the body of Jesus was placed after being taken down from the Cross. They laid it there in haste, so that the burial might be completed before the feast of Passover, which began at sunset.
In one of the countless tombs scattered all over the continents of this planet of ours the Son of God, the man Jesus Christ, conquered death with death. O mors! Ero mors tua! (First Antiphon of Morning Prayer for Holy Saturday). The Tree of Life from which man was banished as a result of sin is set before mankind anew in the body of Christ. "If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever, and the bread which I shall give for the life of the word is my flesh" (Jn 6:51).
Though our planet is constantly being filled with fresh tombs, though the cemetery in which man, who comes from dust and returns to dust, is always growing, nonetheless all who gaze upon the tomb of Jesus Christ live in the hope of the Resurrection.

Lord Jesus, our resurrection, in the new tomb you destroy death and grant life.
R. Kyrie, eleison.
Lord Jesus, our hope, your body, crucified and risen, is the new Tree of Life.
R. Kyrie, eleison.

with St John Henry Newman

V. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.

But for a short three days, for a day and a half — Mary then must give Him up. He is not yet risen. His friends and servants take Him from thee, and place Him in an honourable tomb. They close it safely, till the hour comes for His resurrection.

Lie down and sleep in peace in the calm grave for a little while, dear Lord, and then wake up for an everlasting reign. We, like the faithful women, will watch around Thee, for all our treasure, all our life, is lodged with Thee. And, when our turn comes to die, grant, sweet Lord, that we may sleep calmly too, the sleep of the just. Let us sleep peacefully for the brief interval between death and the general resurrection. Guard us from the enemy; save us from the pit. Let our friends remember us and pray for us, O dear Lord. Let Masses be said for us, so that the pains of Purgatory, so much deserved by us, and therefore so truly welcomed by us, may be over with little delay. Give us seasons of refreshment there; wrap us round with holy dreams and soothing contemplations, while we gather strength to ascend the heavens. And then let our faithful guardian Angels help us up the glorious ladder, reaching from earth to heaven, which Jacob saw in vision. And when we reach the everlasting gates, let them open upon us with the music of Angels; and let St Peter receive us, and Our Lady, the glorious Queen of Saints, embrace us, and bring us to Thee, and to Thy Eternal Father, and to Thy co-equal Spirit, Three Persons, One God, to reign with Them for ever and ever.

Pater, Ave, Gloria ...
V. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.

Let us pray.
God, Who by the Precious Blood of Thy only-begotten Son didst sanctify the Standard of the Cross, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who rejoice in the glory of the same Holy Cross may at all times and places rejoice in Thy protection, Through the same Christ, our Lord.