During his Wednesday General Audience, Pope Francis invited the faithful to reflect on the significance of the upcoming Easter Triduum which began today, Thursday.
“As we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Triduum in this Holy Year of Mercy, we are invited in a special way to contemplate the revelation of God’s infinite mercy in the events of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection,” the Pope said.
On Holy Thursday, Jesus gives himself to us as food and, in the washing of feet, teaches us the need to serve others. On Good Friday, in the mystery of Christ’s death on the cross, we contemplate that undying divine love which embraces all mankind and summons us in turn to love one another in the power of the Spirit. Holy Saturday, the day of God’s silence, invites us not only to solidarity with all who are abandoned and alone, but also to trust in that faithful love which turns death into life.”
Continuing a series of talks dedicated to God’s mercy, the Pontiff quoted a 14th century celebrated English mystic, Julian Norwich, whose Revelations of Divine Love is generally considered one of the most remarkable documents of medieval religious experience.
Pope Francis said: “In one of her visions, Julian of Norwich hears the Lord say that he rejoices eternally because he was able to suffer for our sake out of love. Let us prepare then to celebrate the coming days with gratitude for this great mystery of God’s mercy, poured out for us on the cross of our salvation.”
During her visions Julian thanked Jesus for suffering on the cross for all of humanity. She records Jesus telling her that suffering the passion “is a joy, bliss, an endless satisfaction to me; if I might suffer more, I would suffer more.”
Julian was an English anchoress who was suddenly struck down by a serious illness. On May 13, 1373, she was healed after experiencing a series of visions of Christ’s suffering and of the Blessed Virgin.
At his audience, Pope Francis said God’s love is limitless and the church’s Holy Week services offer Christians a deeper understanding of his infinite mercy.
“Let us prepare then to celebrate the coming days with gratitude for this great mystery of God’s mercy, poured out for us on the cross of our salvation,” he concluded.
In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to Julian of Norwich, saying she was a woman who understood that divine love is at the heart of spiritual life.