“The waves of death rose about me; the pains of the nether world surrounded me. In my anguish I called to the Lord, and from His holy temple He heard my voice. (Psalm 18)
EWTN live-streamed video of Pope Francis’s Urbi et Orbi extraordinary blessing on March 27, 2020:
The Gospel from Mark 4:35-41 was first read:
On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Pope Francis then gave a beautiful meditation on the Gospel. In conclusion he said, “By His Cross we have been saved, in order to embrace hope…embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope. This is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope. Why are you afraid, have you yet no faith? Dear brothers and sisters from this place that tells of Peter’s rock solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the Stormy Sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome, and the world may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace: Lord, bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid, yet our faith is weak, Lord, and we are fearful. But you, Lord, do not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again, ‘Do not be afraid.’ And we, together with Peter, cast all our anxieties onto You, because we know that You care for us.”
After his meditation the Pope proceeded to the icon of Our Lady “Salus Populi Romani” where he prayed for several minutes before moving again to pray before the miraculous Crucifix of San Marcello. This was followed by prayers, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament just inside the door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The powerful image called to mind the last vision of St. John Bosco: The pope on the deck of a large ship in a stormy sea, with no land in sight, being attacked on all sides by smaller vessels and trying to anchor the ship between two columns rising out of the sea — one with the Blessed Sacrament and the other with Our Lady, Help of Christians.
Pope Francis then proceeded out of St. Peter’s carrying the Blessed Sacrament, and with bells pealing, together with the sounds of sirens in the distance, he blessed the world, in the pouring rain, before a dark, empty St. Peter’s Square. The rain streaming down the side of the miraculous crucifix, recalling the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ. Please, at least watch the blessing in the video, which begins around 54:54 minutes. One could not fail to be moved by such powerful imagery. This Urbi et Orbi blessing was like no other in history, and a decisive moment for the world to turn back to the Face of God.
And how very fitting, that this historic, spiritual event would coincide with the anniversary of the death of Mother Angelica, Foundress of EWTN. It was Mother Angelica’s “Yes” to God that made it possible for millions around the world to see and hear the humble pleas of Pope Francis, and to receive his blessing!
“And we, with our unveiled faces, reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; This is the work of the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) These are the words on Mother Angelica’s tomb.
2 Chronicles 7:14
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.