Vincentians, we contemplate the crucified Christ

Let us, then, Vincentians, look to the Crucified One to give us the necessary strength to go beyond difficulties and sufferings.

Every Good Friday, our Catholic Church celebrates the memory and remembers with intimate spiritual devotion the death on the cross of the Son of God. On this unique day in history, the whole Church feels the drama of the Son of God, burdened with the pain, evil and sin of man and of all humanity. At the same time, the drama of Holy Friday reveals the weight of the pain of man rejected, oppressed and crushed; the weight of sin that disfigures his face, the weight of evil. That day reveals to all the definitive defeat of the One who had brought light to those who were plunged in darkness; the One who had spoken of the power of forgiveness and mercy (cf. Mk 11:25; Lk 1:49-50); the One who had invited us to believe in the infinite love of God for every human person (cf. Jn 15:9-10). On that day he is depicted as despised and rejected, representing the “man of sorrows, accustomed to sufferings, and shunned by men, before whom faces are hidden” (Is 53:3). In the same way, that day also reveals the tragic end of a unique Man in the history of all times, who has changed the world, not by striking down others, but by letting himself be killed by being nailed to a cross[1] .

It is this Man, who has changed the world in many ways, marked now by the suffering and torment of the cross, that the Church invites us to contemplate actively. In his face marred by pain, we contemplate sin, sorrow, and the suffering of the whole human family caused by misunderstandings, divisions, worries about the future, illnesses, and difficulties of all kinds. Even today, after so many great scientific advances, the situation of many families continues to be aggravated by the precariousness of work and by the serious negative effects of the economic crisis and global warming[2] . In the face of so much pain, the Church challenges us to look to the Crucified One and say like St. Paul: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ: tribulation? distress? persecution? hunger? nakedness? peril? danger? sword? in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35.37).

Let us, then, Vincentians, look to the Crucified One to give us the necessary strength to go beyond difficulties and sufferings (cf. XII, 227). Let us imitate the Crucified One, taking upon ourselves the pains, the sufferings, the drama, the hope and the anguish of the poor, God’s favourites (cf. XI, 273). Let us contemplate the Crucified One to realise that “God loves the poor and therefore loves those who love the poor” (XI, 273). Let us make this Good Friday a day to engage with a new love in the service of the poor and abandoned (cf. XI, 273).

To do this is to participate in the suffering of Jesus Christ, evangeliser of the poor. It is also an opportunity to accompany our Master, sharing his passion in our daily work, in the life of the Church, in the practice of charity. As Vincentians, we cannot forget that it is precisely in the Lord’s cross, in his boundless love, that one gives oneself totally. In it is the source of grace, liberation, peace, salvation and mission. It is in the cross of Christ that service to the poor takes on its true meaning. It was in it that Vincent de Paul drew strength to take upon himself the suffering, the pain and the misery of his time. St Vincent interpreted the scene of the cross as: the superabundant response to the need of every person to be loved and served. That is why he was always attentive to the person of the poor, to their particular situation, to their dignity. In every poor person, he sought to find the Crucified  and in turn, he exhorted his own to do the same (cf. IX, 750).

Vincentians, let us continue to contemplate that crucified man, who is the Son of God, to realise that in him even sin, suffering and death take on new meaning and direction. In Him we are rescued and overcome, stepping into the ultimate triumph of love, joy and life over evil, suffering and death[3] . Let us learn, then, the great lesson of love that God has given us on the cross, so that a renewed desire for conversion may be born in us, living each day the same love, the only force capable of changing the world. Let us recognise that only the love of the Crucified One is capable of transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh . Hearts of flesh that, today more than ever, we need to see and understand so many crucified and abandoned brothers and sisters. Some who, close to us, are no longer a face but a number; an outcast already classified as a problem, whom we dare not even look at.

In the face of this, as Vincentians, let us on this Good Friday have eyes and hearts for the discarded with white gloves: unborn children, the elderly who have been left alone, abandoned in geriatric institutions, the sick who are not visited, the disabled who are ignored.  Eyes and hearts open to recognise young people who feel a great inner emptiness without anyone really listening to their cry of pain and who find no other way than suicide[4] . As a Vincentian Family, like St. Vincent and so many other saints who let themselves be seduced by the mystery of Christ’s passion, let us unite our sufferings to those of the Crucified One. Let us become true missionaries who know how to see and recognise the Crucified One who keeps crying out among the poorest. Let us not be accomplices of indifference and injustice. Let us remember that for us Vincentians, no one can be discarded or abandoned to his or her fate, for we know that the abandoned are God’s favourites.  Let us therefore love the Crucified in his preferred ones, with a love that is made concrete in action and without forgetting that “the most human work is that of being useful to one’s neighbour” (Sophocles).

So what does Good Friday invite us to do? To be useful to our neighbour, contemplating Christ crucified.

By Jean Rolex, CM

[1] Benedict XVI (2012). Remarks of the Holy Father at the end of the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum. Retrieved from

[2] Francis (2015). Encyclical Letter Laudato Si on care for the common home. Retrieved from

[3] Benedict XVI (2012). Remarks of the Holy Father at the end of the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum. Retrieved from

[4] Francis (2023). Homily for the celebration of Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. Retrieved from