ROME — In war, especially the current conflict in Ukraine, no one can claim victory, because all of humanity loses, Pope Francis said.
During an April 23 meeting with a group of Italian pilgrims commemorating a miraculous image of Mary that wept, the pope said her tears are a sign of God’s compassion as well as his sorrow for humankind’s sins.
Mary’s tears are “a sign of God’s weeping for the victims of the war that is destroying not only Ukraine — let’s be brave and tell the truth — it is destroying all the countries involved in the war. All of them.”
War, he explained, “not only destroys the people who have been defeated. No, it also destroys the victor. It also destroys those who look at it as superficial news to see who is the winner, who is the loser. War destroys everyone.”
More than 3,000 pilgrims took part in the pilgrimage, which coincided with the 500th anniversary of a miracle in which an image depicting Mary at Jesus’ side during the crucifixion shed tears of blood.
The tears that Mary shed, as well as the miracles attributed to the image over the centuries, are not only a sign of God’s love for his children but also “Christ’s pain for our sins, for the evil that afflicts humanity.”
The image also serves as a reminder that humanity has lost the importance of weeping and must learn to empathize with those who suffer in the world.
While some shed tears “when something happens that touches us or when we cut onions,” the pope said that true weeping, “like that of Peter when he repented,” has been lost.
“Our civilization, our times, have lost the sense of crying. And we must ask for the grace to weep in front of the things we see, in front of the misery of humanity,” he said.
“Not only wars — I have spoken about them — but those who are discarded, the elderly are discarded, children are discarded even before they are even born. So many tragedies of discarding: The poor who have nothing to live on are discarded; the squares, the streets full of homeless people,” he added.
Reminding the pilgrims that Mary is the Queen of Peace and the “Mother of mercy,” Pope Francis encouraged the group to pray because “the miseries of our time should make us weep, and we need to weep.”
“There is a Mass in the Catholic liturgy to ask for the gift of tears,” the pope said. “And the prayer of that Mass goes like this, ‘O Lord, you who brought forth water from the rock, let tears flow from the rock of my heart.’ The heart of stone that has forgotten how to cry. Please, let us ask for the grace to weep. All of us.”