Christ in the Storm: An Extraordinary Blessing for a Suffering World
"Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?"--Mark 4:40
As he calmed the storm at sea, Jesus reproached the apostles for their lack of faith. On March 27, 2020, Pope Francis used the Gospel passage as a sign of God's blessing, forgiveness, and healing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Holy Father offered hope to the world with an Extraordinary Urbi et Orbi Blessing from an empty St. Peter's Square.
Christ in the Storm gathers color photos, readings, the pope's homily and blessing, and also provides explanation of the symbolism and history throughout the event to create a powerful reminder that Jesus is always with us and that God's love never fails.
An Urbi et Orbi Blessing (Urbi et Orbi means "to the city and to the world") is usually reserved for Christmas and Easter, but Pope Francis used his powerful and moving message to unite the world in prayer in the wake of the coronavirus. History will remember the dramatic images of the Holy Father walking alone in St. Peter's Square at twilight in the rain and his profound words of hope.
The Pope said,
Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we flounder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God's strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.
In addition to reading about the historical background of the event, you also will learn the significance of the following elements of the unique and deeply moving service:
- the icon of Mary, Health of the Roman People
- the Miraculous Crucifix
- plenary indulgence
- prayers such as the Litany of Supplication
- Eucharistic Adoration
- Chants such as the Tantum Ergo
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About the Author
Timothy O'Malley, PhD, is director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy in the Institute for Church Life and a concurrent assistant professional specialist in the Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Liturgy and the New Evangelization: Practicing the Art of Self-Giving Love published by Liturgical Press.